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March 2014

Drone Strikers Say Government Unfairly Denies Them Jury Trials

At least 18 have been arrested for trespassing since Oct. 30, 2012, some more than once. One was an 88-year-old Lutheran minister, arrested nearly three weeks ago on Ash Wednesday, who was also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran – he served on the honor guard aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, where the treaty was signed marking Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The federal government has begun filing misdemeanor charges of unauthorized penetration of a military installation. The charge carries the potential of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, although federal prosecutors have assured judges they have no intention of trying to put any of the protesters behind bars. The government has succeeded so far in persuading two judges to deny protesters jury trials, something the defendants contend deprives them of their Sixth Amendment rights . . .

Beware Venezuela’s ‘False Anarchists’

Not everyone who calls themselves anarchists are worthy of the name. Before expressing our solidarity, we should be clear who it is we are supporting. When it comes to the Venezuelan protests of recent weeks and months, misinformation reigns supreme. Just as liberals and progressives have been misled by desperate hashtags like #SOSVenezuela and simplistic comparisons to Occupy, so too has the radical left been tempted by the some self-described Venezuelan anarchists, and El Libertario in particular. This is not a critique of anarchism in general or even of all Venezuelan anarchists (I will discuss others below). I have always been very close to the anarchist milieu and, while frustrated by certain anarchist blindspots, I am influenced by anarchism as a doctrine of revolutionary struggle that understands the inherent contradictions of the state.

Churches And Unions Join To Organize In Mississippi

As his voice rings out, blessing the community and the oppressed, the congregation affirming each line, he names a new group that he says deserves God's attention. "We pray for the employees who are working at Nissan," Miller says, and the dozens of women and men in the pews say amen to that, too. "We pray you wake up the conscience of those that are oppressing them," he says. It is just more than a month since the United Automobile Workers suffered a bruising defeat at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, with workers voting not to join a union in an election widely seen as a test of whether labor unions will gain a foothold in the rapidly growing auto factories of the South. Attention is turning now to the more than 5,000-worker Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., where another union effort is gaining steam.

Rosebud Sioux Set Up Camp To Stop Pipeline

A new front in the battle against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is opening up for tribes and others in South Dakota in a rural area near Mission. A group sanctioned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is setting up a prayer camp near Mission to keep up pressure against the pipeline. The camp will be located off of U.S. Highway 183 near the town of Ideal. Aldo Seoane, project coordinator for the Shielding the People Project, said the tribe has concerns about trouble from pipeline workers and the tribe's sovereign rights being violated by the project. "Rosebud wasn't consulted in the process of getting the pipeline put through," said Seoane. Seoane said part of where the pipeline's path cuts through an area that contains historical and cultural tribal artifacts.

We Are Radicals at Heart: A New History Gets America Wrong

Coming to America in late 1774, already approaching 40, Paine not only had all the makings of a radical. He also carried within him the idea of the “rights of the freeborn Briton”—an idea cultivated by a tradition of “radicalism” that reached from the Peasant Rising of 1381, to the English Revolution of the 1640s (in which the English taught the French how to take off the head of a king), to the popular crowd actions of eighteenth-century London. And yet, he did not become a radical until his arrival in Philadelphia in 1774. Indeed, it was Americans themselves who turned him into a revolutionary and he returned the favor. Impressed by their diversity and rebelliousness, the liberty-loving and democratic spirit that animated their actions, and how they had organized themselves to govern everyday public life and commerce, he wrote Common Sense to enable Americans to see who they were, what they were about, and what they might achieve (“We have it in our power to begin the world over again”), and thereby turned their colonial rebellion into a world-historic revolution for independence and the making of a democratic republic.

Managing Disorder: Towards A Global State Of Control?

It’s not just right-wing or military regimes that are leading the assault on hard-fought popular freedoms. In Brazil, the ruling Workers’ Party announced this week that it would send the army into Rio’s favelas to pacify the slums ahead of the World Cup. Ostensibly targeted at violent drug gangs, this pacification scheme has led to a situation in which hundreds of slum dwellers are killed by state troops every year. Under President Rousseff — a former Marxist guerrilla who was tortured and imprisoned by the military dictatorship — state brutality against the “unruly” poor and excluded remains the order of the day. Just last week, Brazilian military police were caught on camera after shooting and killing a 38-year-old mother of four and dragging her lifeless body 200 meters down the street in their police van. It is no coincidence that the intensification of long-standing patterns of state repression appears to be particularly acute in the countries that experienced large-scale street protest in the past three years.

Cesar Chavez Comes to Life In Film About California’s Heroic Labor Leader

one Mexican actor-turned-director has made Chavez’s life the subject of a new film – opening in theaters across America this Friday, March 28 – which, for him, was both a cause to educate himself and an invitation to resolve Chavez’s legacy. “I knew his name and that he was an activist, and part of the movement that had something to do with the farm workers in California,” said director Diego Luna, who starred most recently alongside Matt Damon in last year's dystopian sci-fi film Elysium. “But I didn’t know what they had achieved, and what he represents. Once I realized there was no film that celebrated his legacy, he became a necessity and it became my priority.” Luna, who also had a role in the 2008 film Milk, about the life of gay San Francisco politician and activist Harvey Milk, said he took extensive input from the family of Chavez in writing the script.

‘Disobedience 2014’: Mass Protest To End Austerity In Spain

Thousands gathered in the center of Barcelona in an event the organizers dubbed “Disobedience 2014”in protest of government austerity measures. The protesters marched under a large banner saying:“Disobedience 2014. They can’t control us if we disobey. Let’s stop [Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon’s] laws!” The demonstration turned violent when the police moved in to try and stop protesters from reaching Barcelona’s Cataluna Square. Activists tussled with police, while others smashed the windows of banks and financial institutions and set fire to bins. The idea behind the demonstration is to protest austerity and cuts through “acts of mass civil disobedience,” one of the organizers told Spanish newspaper La Nacion. “Through disobedience we will rebel against a system that is dragging us into an abyss and replace it with one that respects people,” said Luis Lopez who was holding a flag representing a Spanish anarchist group.

Access To Affordable, Healthy Food In Canada’s North Nears Crisis

"Evidence from a variety of sources concludes that food insecurity among northern aboriginal peoples is a problem that requires urgent attention to address and mitigate the serious impacts it has on health and well-being," the report said. The cause of food insecurity — the lack of consistent access to an adequate amount of healthy food due to cost or other factors — is complex. It is more than the high cost of flying food into isolated communities far from distribution centers in the south of Canada. Environmental and cultural as well as economic factors are in play, the researchers said.

One-Third Of Texas Running On Wind Power

On Wednesday, March 27th, the largest state in the contiguous United States got almost one-third of its electricity by harnessing the wind. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the bulk of the Lone Star State's power grid, a record-breaking 10,296 MW of electricity was whipped up by wind turbines. That's enough to provide 29 percent of the state's power, and to keep the lights on in over 5 million homes. The landmark is further evidence of one of the nation's unlikeliest energy success stories. Conservative politicians have a renowned aversion to clean energy (thoughRepublican voters favor it overwhelmingly), and Texas is still deep red. Yet wind farms are cropping up in there faster than almost anywhere else.

Which Is The Greater Threat To Privacy Google Or Facebook?

You wake up from a Google alarm on your Google phone. The air is Google-cool from your Google thermostat. Your Google car drives you to work at a company that uses Google software. You smile at your sandwich (not made by Google) and take a picture of it, because you're wearing a camera on your face. You look at the sandwich face-photos of your peers, your viewing history logged by Google. An artificial intelligence in your phone queues up a sandwich collage for later. It knows you'll like it. You go home to your wife, which is a giant cargo-hauling military robot, because that's just the fucking way it is now, OKAY? Facebook's desire to produce virtual reality doesn't seem so bad when Google wants to own reality itself.

Protest Rains Thousands Of Bills In Guggenheim

A handheld bell sounded in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, signaling the second protest action in as many months from the Global Ultra Luxury Faction, or G.U.L.F. The ringing was followed by the release of 9,000 “1%” bills of parodic currency which fluttered downward as patrons rushed to the inner edge of Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiral ramp. But unlike G.U.L.F.’s intervention at the museum late last month, there were no shouted demands or Occupy-style mic checks — the only sound that could be heard after the bills were released was the collective gasp of the hundreds of patrons who packed the museum, where lines for entry wrapped around the block (Saturdays are a free night). Posters and bills were also placed in the museum’s bathrooms and later posted in a number of the city’s subway stations and trains.

Why The US Is Demonizing Putin

Washington knows that Ukraine has always been a delicate issue for Moscow. The ultra-nationalists who fought with the Third Reich during the second world war killed 30,000 Russian soldiers and communists. They were still conducting a covert war with CIA backing as late as 1951. Pavel Sudoplatov, a Soviet intelligence chief, wrote in 1994: "The origins of the cold war are closely interwoven with western support for nationalist unrest in the Baltic areas and western Ukraine." If the US insists on using the NATO magnet to attract the Ukraine, it is likely that Moscow will detach the eastern part of the country. Those who really value Ukrainian sovereignty should opt for real independence and a positive neutrality: neither a plaything of the west nor Moscow.

Suffragettes No More – The Long Struggle For Women’s Equality

In many ways, life for American women in the 19th century was similar to the lives of women today under the Taliban. Women were deprived of basic rights, including access to education. Women who owned property lost control of that property when they married. Husbands had the legal right to "correct" their wives with beatings. Women had no right to money they had earned and no rights to make decisions concerning their own children. A proper woman had to be "strait-laced," literally. Women's clothing restricted their movement. Corsets made breathing and digestion difficult, and skirts had to be so long as to fully cover their legs. As a result, women's skirts literally swept the streets. To understand the context in which the women's suffrage movement existed, think about the American 1960s. Both were times of ferment and experimentation, in which authority was challenged; norms were violated and people struggled for equality, justice, true citizenship and shared democratic governance. In both eras, race and civil rights were major struggles. Women's status, rights and autonomy were part of that turbulent period, but so were other liberation and civil rights movements.

Vertical Farms Sprouting Up All Over The World

URBAN warehouses, derelict buildings and high-rises are the last places you'd expect to find the seeds of a green revolution. But from Singapore to Scranton, Pennsylvania, "vertical farms" are promising a new, environmentally friendly way to feed the rapidly swelling populations of cities worldwide. In March, the world's largest vertical farm is set to open up shop in Scranton. Built by Green Spirit Farms (GSF) of New Buffalo, Michigan, it will only be a single storey covering 3.25 hectares, but with racks stacked six high it will house 17 million plants. And it is just one of a growing number. Vertical farms aim to avoid the problems inherent in growing food crops in drought-and-disease-prone fields many hundreds of kilometres from the population centres in which they will be consumed.
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