politics

A Million Dollars to Jim Crow Land

Free The Jena 6Today 50,000 people from all over the country are in Jena, Louisiana to demand justice for the 6 kids being persecuted by the racist district attorney there. If you haven't been following the situation have a look into it. Houston Indymedia has a feature on it.

Around here in Tucson it's lucky if anyone has even heard about it, much less getting involved, even the activist types I know. It's kind of amazing, but I guess most people I know are already so busy with whatever issues they already work on so hard all the time, mostly border stuff or enviro stuff.

A few of us were thinking of going to Jena but, well, it just wasn't going to work. I can't afford stuff like that these days. But I got a t-shirt...

In the spirit of my cynical previous blog post today, despite the good cause, I can't help doing the math: 50,000 people from all over, most of whom probably flew to Alexandria or New Orleans and then bussed or taxied, and got hotel rooms, and ate at restaurants, etc etc.... I bet at least a million dollars was spent collectively by all these committed activists.

Things are already looking up, one kid's conviction was overturned because an appeals court said he shouldn't have been tried as an adult... Maybe this is the best way to spend a million dollars, but maybe not. Think of everything for this cause that could have been done with a million dollars... even better lawyers? Billboards all over Jena? maybe stun guns or self-defense classes for all the african-americans in Jena? bribes? hitmen to take out the DA? I dunno, but all those things would also probably spew less carbon into the atmosphere too. I dunno. I dunno.

October Boondoggle

I just found out about "October Rebellion," a week of protests in DC against the IMF and World Bank. The cause is great but wow, what a waste. When are people going to get past marches and rallies? You'd think that after literally millions of people around the world on one day in 2003 marched against the impending war in Iraq and made no difference at all that people would start to re-evaluate this tactic on a large scale. But it doesn't seem like it's sunk in.

Imagine what we could do if all the effort and time and money and calories went into other things, instead of being put into organizing all the marching and standing around chanting and waving signs, all the greenhouse gases spewed into the air by all those jet-setting activists flying to the mass mobilizations, all the jail support for the ones that get arrested, all the trials and lawsuits and medical bills for the ones that get charged and beat up and gassed, etc etc....

Don't people get that these protests are basically the equivalent of whining to the government, asking them to fix things? Don't people get that the government never will really fix things? The Zapatistas learned that. Like them, let's just dive in and do the work to make the new world we want and stop wasting our time asking power to do it for us.

(As you can perhaps tell, I'm feeling a bit cynical lately, but not cynical enough to invalidate my point above, I feel.)

Control of (Next) Lives

Wow. Bob Ostertag notes in his blog an MSNBC story about China and reincarnation:

China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."

It's hilarious but it's also serious, as Bob discusses in his post...

A Glorious Sunny Day to Blockade The G8

Well, for the first time in 5 days it's really nice and warm and sunny here by the Baltic Sea, and various groups are by now at blockade points by the thousands around Heiligendamm, trying to stop the symbolic personal representatives of world power from getting to meet each other.
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But I slept in, because I was up late encoding and uploading video and hanging out with the Kein TV video volk till very late. Finally my coverage of monday's migration demos are online, both as an mp4 from my site, and an ogg file on v2v.cc, via bittorrent and other peer-to-peer technologies. I was trying all day to upload it, to Indymedia Germany, to YouTube, etc, and both at the IMC here and at Kein.TV's lab there were internet problems and/or congestion which made it impossible.

Anyway, you should watch, I like how it turned out.

Today, who knows what will happen. There were rumors about police banning absolutely everything, all blockades, all further demos, everything, but it appears, according to the indymedia germany news ticker, that stuff is still going down. I hurt my foot yesterday so i don't know if I'll be running around filming a lot like I would like to. We'll see.

Watching and Waiting

My 5th day in Germany and Berlin. Things have gone well other than the usual new-place frustrations from time to time of getting lost or being super tired or hungry and wandering looking for a place to rest or eat that is suitable.
Kein Mensch Ist Illegal - 2

Yesterday I went to a rally and march concerning migration and immigration and borders - against deportations and oppression and borders. "Kein Mensch Ist Illegal" is the German for a slogan I'm quite familiar with from being in in the US-Mexico borderlands: No One Is Illegal. I shot a few stills, some video, and recorded some great audio, including a great trio of german singers at the rally who did this sort of electroindustrial rap music, a few songs worth, which seemed to be relevant to the issues at hand but I couldn't be sure, of course. I made my first post to Germany Indymedia's website with some of the photos.

Today as I made my way around the city picking a few more bits of gear and supplies, the week of G8 protests officially began in Rostock and Schwerin. Police have already started huring people and arresting people. I've been following the Germany IMC news ticker to see the latest news. Julia and I will be driving her mother's car to Rostock tommorrow morning. I intend to spend most of the day just getting oriented and attending border/migration related forums and workshops at one of the convergence centers. Then monday is the big migration demo and march. I plan to stay safe and relatively out of the action, playing my usual role of media activist and documenting, rather than getting in the thick of the action.

Tonight though we'll be at a screening at NGBK, a gallery in the Kreuzberg neighborhood here in Berlin, where they will screen some of Julia's work. Later in the week they plan to screen some videos of mine as well as indymedia videos I've gathered during my stint as indymedia newsreal editor.

Something seems to have broken regarding my Twitter feed, which used to appear on the right column of my blog thanx to some stolen and hacked javascript code... You may want to check my Twitter page if it seems like a long time since I've blogged and you're worried or curious what's going on. I may not get to my blog that often in the coming week, though i'll try, but I can post to Twitter with my phone, so I might do that, even though it costs money, just to keep you avid readers informed...

NEE

A hilarious political protest campaign is going on in Belgium, making fun of the system in a really effective way and encouraging people to vote for empty seats in the Belgian parliament.

And parodying unrealistic campaign promises:
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(via Brian)

Newt Gingrich calls Spanish "the language of living in a ghetto"

Former speaker of the House of Represetatives Newt Gingrich (what is he now, just a racist hatemonger on the lecture circuit?) gave a speech decrying bilingual education and calling Spanish "the language of living in a ghetto". He received cheers from the crowd of members of the National Federation of Republican Women.
(via Mun2 Daily Dos)

Tucson Weekly, You Suck Again (now for sexism)

Just a few weeks after yet another insanely racist and propagandistic cover story about illegal immigration by the ludicrously unskilled and racist Leo Banks, the Tucson Weekly is at it again.

I wouldn't make this much fuss about this normally except that this issue came out yesterday, on International Women's Day. They pretty much hardly ever put anything this extreme on their cover, but now of all days, they run this. And it's completely gratuitous, nothing to do with the story at all, except that the story is dead boring (about the state legislature) so they must have felt they had to jazz it up to get people to even pick up a copy.

Tucson Weekly, you are the most conservative, racist, sexist, classist entertainment weekly I have ever seen out of all the 8 or 9 cities i've lived in, including, believe it or not, Charleston, South Carolina. In fact, in everywhere else that I've lived, the weeklies have been at least somewhat consistently left-of-center - although the Portland Mercury is sometimes annoyingly too-hip-to-be-left (but this is because they feel the need to appear cooler and different than the older, more staid liberal Williammette Week. This may be a little of what's going on here in Tucson; although there's no other paper to compete with, they maybe just purposely printing shockingly clueless and controversial stories in order to boost circulation).

Tucson Weekly, you suck.

Chavez Getting Even Stronger

The Venezuelan legislature is in the process of giving Hugo Chavez "the power to rule by decree for 18 months so that he can impose sweeping economic, social and political change." Wow. How long before he declares himself president-for-life?

Appropriately enough, I just saw an excellent film called Land of the Blind, about a fictional and archetypal country that goes from totalitarian right-wing rule to totalitarian left-wing rule thanx to a palace guard, played by Ray Fiennes, who later regrets his role in the revolution when things are even worse under the new "People's Committee for Justice and Democracy" regime, and is imprisoned for refusing to sign the loyalty oath to the Chairman-for-Life, played by Donald Southerland. It's a really great dystopian absurdist black-comic story, kindred in set design and mood to Terry Gilliam's Brazil, tho not as funny.

Gradually Eroding Freedoms

I can't remember where I first was referred to this, but according to various blogs, there's an amendment to a bill in Congress now, Section 220 of S. 1, though "on hold," that would basically require anyone writing about Congress to register quarterly with Congress. WTF? Insane. Both left and right bloggers and organizations seem to be complaining, but there's not as much chatter about this, or media attention, as I would expect. I looked further and found this on the SF Bay Times site:

Checking the actual text of Section 220, a laborious exercise indeed, I find that the text requires that third parties who pay money in order to engineer what might appear to be a grassroots lobbying effort must declare themselves. I also learn that the tactic, presumably one close to the heart of James Dobson and Focus on the Family, is called

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