By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance - Black August is coming to an end as we commemorate the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As many head back to school, a full season of actions are being planned for the fall to stop the corporate takeover of our communities and world and the push toward neo-slavery. There is a lot of resistance going on. We hope that you have an opportunity this summer to relax and build up your energy for the many actions that are being planned for the fall. If you go to a park, there is one more thing you can do: take a moment to think about the people who inhabited the land before it became a park.
By Bruce Gagnon, Organizing Notes - As we were preparing to leave Gangjeong village we looked into the sky as a formation of Navy Blue Angel war planes came screaming over the village. For the next 15 or so minutes they went back and forth directly over Gangjeong doing various stunts. One of the stunts brought the planes very low in an ear splitting maneuver. The Navy was sending a message to Gangjeong village. The message was loud and clear. "We own you now. Your village will become a war base. There is nothing you can do. We will project power against China from Jeju Island. You'd better get used to the idea." This is the way the US military empire thinks and the way they treat people who stand in their way. Just before we went on the air for the radio interview we learned that the Navy is planning to demand that Gangjeong villagers pay $20 million (USD) in fines for disruption of construction operations on the base now nearing completion.
By Medea Benjamin in CommonDreams. South Korea’s Jeju Island is a popular tourist destination full of spas, resorts, golf courses, sandy beaches, waterfalls and hiking trails. But if you really want to get rejuvenated, skip the tourist hotspots and go directly to the village of Gangjeong to support the extraordinary community that has been opposing the building of a naval base since 2007. You’ll get your morning exercise at 7am bowing 100 times facing the base, praying for an end to its construction. You’ll get spiritual nourishment from the noon mass outside the base (no religion necessary). And if you really want to feel like royalty, join the activists in their daily ritual of sitting in plastic chairs blocking the base entrance, then having the police gently lift you up in your chair and cart you away so the cement trucks and traffic can flow in and out of the base.
Christmas in Gangjeong, and still the construction of the massive naval base to accommodate America’s “Pivot to Asia” continues without a break. And, today, as they do everyday, the priests, nuns, villagers and their supporters celebrate mass and pray for peace. Today, Bishop Peter Kang, the Bishop of Jeju, came to Gangjeong to celebrate Christmas mass at the gate of the base in freezing weather. Grace Kim is a Korean, who went abroad at quite an early age. She went to high school and college in the US and has been living in Berlin for the last 5 years studying Visual and Media Anthropology at Freie University. Grace is in Gangjeong for three months keeping a daily video diary as she conducts her research. When I went to Gangjeong, I learned that each of us has a voice and that with knowledge comes responsibility. The least we can do is to amplify the voices of Gangjeong and do what we can to bring justice and peace to our world. I wanted to share this wonderful video Grace posted today, Christmas 2013.
On Jeju Island, an environmental jewel sixty miles south of the Korean Peninsula, a massive naval base is being built to house US warships, submarines and aircraft carriers, serving as a key forward base for the " US Pacific Pivot", and turning the region into a hair trigger for global confrontation. Seven years of principled non-violent struggle by the affected villagers have resulted mostly in endless beatings, arrests, fines, imprisonment; a growing international solidarity movement; but little tangible in the way of political support from any national or local government. On December 3rd, 2013, the City Council of Berkeley, voted to support the Peace and Justice Commission's Resolution in support of the residents of Jeju Island and to End US support for construction of the Jeju Naval Base. This makes it the first city in the world to formally declare its support of the Jeju Islanders and its opposition to the base. Despite being stripped out of the consent calendar and placed almost at the bottom of the council agenda--procedural maneuvers designed to kill off the item--the resolution ultimately passed (with 5 votes in favor) and 3 abstentions in the Berkeley City Council. Council member Kriss Worthington, who had fast-tracked the resolution, tabled the two items preceding the resolution, allowing it to be put to discussion and a vote, minutes before the clock ran out.
Big news from Jeju Island in South Korea today as award-winning film director Oliver Stone joined the Gangjeong villagers and supporters in their march around the island. After Jeju Stone will travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then to Okinawa where he will give support to protests against US bases there. The Life and Peace March has two teams - one team of several hundred marching east and the other consisting of several hundred marching west - and both teams will meet up in Jeju City for a huge finale rally. Stone will speak at that event.