Resist the RNC: Sept. 1st in St. Paul

22 08 2008

The First (slightly tongue-in-cheek) Communique from UA in the Bay:

As the spectre of the electoral farce looms on the American horizon, we who would imagine democracy to look otherwise, harbor not the audacity of blind hope, but of negation. We who watch, from within dying cities and hollowed-out towns the economic decline of the American Imperialist beast know the charades of Denver and St. Paul to be so much deck chair rearranging on this sinking ship. We know the militarism, imperial forays and consumer extremism to be the last gasps of a self-imploding world order. We watch with sardonic smiles maybe, knowing the world will be better for it! The time has never been more ripe nor more urgent for organized mass resistance, so we converge on Denver and St. Paul this summer to be the no to their affirmations of capitalist exploitation, imperialism, and the systemic violence of racism, sexism and homophobia therein. To manifest our alternative visions and actualize, if only for a transitory moment, prefigurations of mutual aid and autonomy. Our strength lies foremost in our asymmetry, in our ability to be not like them. Our resistance refuses the roles the police state would enjoy us to assume. In challenging the spectacles of both conventions, as well as the protests that counter them, we must constantly remake ourselves, push our conceptual limits and be what is least expected. We, with Unconventional Action in the San Francisco Bay Area (UA in the Bay), seek to remake and re-imagine street actions while drawing upon the rich legacy of the global anti-capitalist movement. In the spirit of the RNC Welcoming Committee’s efforts to playfully detourne the discourse of mass protest, we claim sector 4 and propose to add a little friendly competition (however un-anarchist that may sound) to the mix of mayhem in the streets of St. Paul. The name of the game: Barricade Building Contest! We will swarm, we will seize and our presence will stay. Special categories include Biggest, Baddest Barricade, Best use of found materials, Best use of vehicle(s), Best strategic Location, Greenest Barricade, Most difficult to remove. Contest open to all comers of all locations. No limit on number of entries submitted. Winners to be determined by GOP delegates based on their inability to attend the convention. The Prize: Total Freedom (naturally).

The time is nigh to re-establish the barricade in the popular American imaginary–to call upon this particular tactic of resistance that has the unique capacity not only to disrupt the convention, but also to remake the urban space, to reorient psycho-geography along lines incongruous to capitalist production modes and notions of private property. To reclaim the urban commons with a collective agenda, through autonomous self-determination. And to experience the ways our bodies react to moving outside of dead time and economic constraints. Barricades have comprised the front lines of resistance from Oaxaca to Argentina. From Spain 1936 to France 1968. From the communards to the piqueteros. The barricade flashes up at a moment of danger, connecting us to a historical narrative that is still being written. A las barricadas! No pasaran! Sous les paves la plage! Que se vayan a todos! We build up the barricades to bring down the capitalist war machine. Join Sector 4 on September 1st, where the streets are ours, the sky is the limit and the medium the message. Up against the barricades motherfucker! See you in St. Paul! See you at the Barricades!

UA in the Bay, Sector 4 meeting in St. Paul:

Saturday, August 30th at 2pm, 627 Smith Ave S

http://www.indybay.org/conventions2008





THE PRACTICE OF AWARENESS, FOR HIROSHIMA DAY

9 08 2008

By Rebecca Solnit

Read on August 6, 2008, the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, at an action against the profiteers from Americas Army military recruitment computer video game that targets teens. After the rally in San Francisco’s South Park a march targetted South Park war profiteer game companies Ubisoft, Gameloft, and Secret Level.

Two of the major landmarks in the Bay Area are San Francisco Zen Center and Lawrence
Livermore Labs. The labs are where Edward Teller and Co. designed the hydrogen bomb
in the 1950s, after breaking off from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico
where the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were designed and partiallyTK
manufactured. The first atomic bomb was dropped from the Enola Gay, 63 years ago
today, in Hiroshima,. Three days later a second one was dropped on Nagasaki.

Thirteen years ago, I heard a Nagasaki survivor tell her story of what she saw, and
she spoke so slowly that I was able to write as she spoke. I go back to my
transcript almost every year about this time and hear again her sweet, clear, voice
with its delicate accent:

The city was a flat sea in flames
and the dust from the sky
is complete
Sky is black

That time we don’t feel anything.
Not fear
I do not feel pain

Under the house they are screaming Help me, help me
but there is no way I can help them.
Some of them they crawl because foot is smashed
And on the way is dead I had to pass one by one
After three days is smell….
from the dead people,
Even the clothes, even the money smell for long after
You could wash yourself, you smell
They bring body, part of body, and cremate it in open sky
and I hear that noise, I can’t forget that noise—
excuse me but like a barbeque.
I couldn’t touch the meat for many years.

Every time I see–I don’t want to remember–but after fifty years I say, If I don’t
tell them who will?
I lose six members of my family and I can’t cry, I am in shock, I say maybe it was
burned, that’s why I can’t cry
[burnt man full of maggots screaming Help, please kill me]

I was drinking the dirty water because we had no water–no food, no medicine
Next thing I see body floating down towards me in the water

Most of the half-burned body is that way–eyes open, surprised

I was drinking the dirty water because we had no water–no food, no medicine
Next thing I see body floating down towards me in the water

Most of the half-burned body is that way–eyes open, surprised

My mother starts getting very sick
pimple spots all over
stomach is bloated
Every day she is by the train: Father come home
Of course he didn’t come
And her condition was so bad that no one would go near….
smell like decay
from her nose it looks like black oil comes out
Whatever comes out is turned to black
I don’t  understand it

Uncle took back to his my grandmother’s home
and on the way she drink the spring water
and she say
delicious
and those were her last words.
Then she was at peace
She had been in hell.

When I saw those bones I thought, I said
Am I living
or am I dreaming,
in other world
and that’s why I am here speaking.

That’s the American nuclear-bomb-making industry, managed by UC Berkeley, as seen by
the recipient of one of its creations. One version of American culture sent to
Japan. Not the only one here in the land of the Underground Railroad and Cesar
Chavez and Human Rights Watch, but one of them. And we here are heirs to all of
them; we cannot shirk this mixed-up legacy; we have to lift it up and reconcile it,
in our own lives as well as our nation.

It’s easy to live in the Bay Area and be smug about how antiwar we all are. But if
you become a little more aware of this place we’re responsible for, you see the bomb
design labs in the southeast bay and the great war machine that is Silicon Valley;
you see Lockheed Martin in the South Bay; you see the war profiteer Chevron in the
North Bay; you see Bechtel Corporation, a war contractor in Iraq, a few blocks from
here; you see that the practice of confining and crushing awareness is also going on
here, lucratively, extensively, and you see that we have a lot to do here in the
homeland of the atom bomb.

I started by saying that there are two sites to think about today in the San
Francisco Bay Area: the bomb factory and then at Laguna and Page in the lower Haight
is San Francisco Zen Center, where one of the jewels of Japanese culture—as Zen
Buddhism—came to America. More specifically one small Japanese man, Shunryu Suzuki
Roshi came fourteen years after Hiroshima, bringing ideas that have mattered a lot
in the forty-nine years since. Paul Haller, the current Abbot of San Francisco Zen
Center,  calls Buddhism “the practice of awareness.”

“The practice of awareness” is a goal that Buddhism shares with art, or at least the
art that I value. This is the art that works to wake you up, to make you more aware
of the systems we’re part of, to extend the boundaries of your empathy, your
understanding, your humanity. But this has not been the task of all art. The
cartoons of squinting, crouching Japs during World War II helped Americans
dehumanize and then imprison their neighbors; the constant comparisons of Jews to
insects in the Third Reich led to exterminating them with insecticide in the showers
of the death camps; the pervasive  media—movies, tv, ads, books, websites—that help
create a real world in which women are disposable toys that are fun to torture.

Here’s the description of two games made by Ubisoft, which also makes military
recruitment games:

Prowl the waters as the captain of a German submarine in a never-before-seen theatre
of operations – the Indian Ocean. Take part in the war against British supply lines
off the coast of North Africa and support the Japanese war against the U.S. Navy

There’s only one way to the top ranks of the underground world of paid assassins and
it’s going to get messy.

And then there’s Ubisoft’s game developed with the US army: Built in partnership
with the U.S. Army, this game offers the most true to life Army experience, allowing
you to create a soldier and take him through the high risk excitement of an Army
career. Intense single player missions and high adrenaline multiplayer action build
the skills of your soldier and advancing him through his career.

It doesn’t include, I suspect, chances to kill unarmed civilians, to get raped by a
superior officer, to be so injured in combat you survive with multiple missing limbs
and disabilities or severe brain damage, it doesn’t include simulations of trying to
get VA benefits, or living disabled, or becoming homeless or committing PTSD-related
domestic violence. To say the least, its version of what being a modern soldier
entails is incomplete.

Art matters. Plato was wrong; it’s not separate from life; it guides and feeds and
sometimes strangles it. There is the practice of awareness and of unawareness, and
there is an art of unawareness, the propaganda, the caricatures, the distortions,
the games, that teach us not to feel, to exclude this group from our compassion and
that from human rights, that leads to the war that is mass murder by a noble
nationalist name.

We are kind by nature. We have to be taught to be callous, to hate, to kill, to lose
empathy, to ourselves be dehumanized. The murdered are alive until the end, but
their killers have died a little already as their humanity shrank from their victims
and from their own hearts and souls. And today, we’re here in front of a place that
uses technology to help bring kids into the military where they’ll learn not to feel
long enough to kill but they will feel, and feel shame, feel guilt, feel horror,
feel stuck in the nightmare that is war, feel so overwhelmingly that a lot of them
from this war have chosen to kill themselves to end the awareness and the empathy
that couldn’t be rooted out but became unbearable.

Like the mother who died in Nagasaki, like millions in Iraq now, they have been in
hell, and here we are at one of its gates. At the gates of this hell I want to say
to you not Dante’s old Abandon hope ye who enter here, but abandon apathy, delusion,
and all the impediments to the practice of awareness for all beings—not the theory,
but the practice with all its practical consequences, our neverending task.





Aug. 6th Direct Action: Stop the Military Recruitment of Children

23 07 2008

Help Stop the Army’s Child Recruitment Program
“America’s Army” Videogame Targets Children as Young as 13
South Park Game Companies Profit from Illegal Recruitment Program
 
Rally and Direct Action, Noon, Aug. 6th
South Park, (btw 2nd/3rd, Bryant/Brannan) San Francisco
Tell the companies “Break contract with the Army, No more child recruitment”
http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&hl=en&ll=37.781139,-122.394234&spn=0.008649,0.013218&t=h&z=16
 
“America’s Army” is a game developed by the U.S. military to instruct players in “Army values,” portray the army in a positive light, and increase potential recruits.  The “game” is the property and brainchild of the US Army, which admit freely, and with pride, that it is one of their principal recruitment tools.
 
America’s Army has been available since 2002 as a free download or as a CD available in recruiting stations. It is published and distributed by Ubisoft right here in South Park. Ubisoft is not the only South Park neighbor engaged in the development of the game, Gameloft is working on the cell phone application and Secret Level was a designer on the 2005 Xbox version. The game has been granted a “teen” rating, allowing 13 year olds to play.
 
The military recruitment of children under the age of 17, however, is a clear violation of international law (the U.N. Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict). No attempt to recruit children 13-16 is allowed in the United States, pursuant to treaty.  In May, the American Civil Liberties Union published a report that found the armed services regularly target children under 17 for military recruitment.  The report highlighted the role of “America’s Army,” saying the Army uses the game to “attract young potential recruits . . . train them to use weapons, and engage in virtual combat and other military missions”, adding that the game “explicitly targets boys 13 and older.”
It is also important to consider the effects of the game within the context of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Undoubtedly, soldiers now recruited through “America’s Army” will serve in these wars. The invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are violations of international law, and
contributing to their continuation through the propagation of the game is, if not a criminal violation, a moral outrage.
 
The game is having an effect.  An informal study showed that 4 out of 100 new recruits in Ft. Benning, Georgia credit America’s Army as the primary factor in convincing them to join the military.  60% of those recruits said they played the game more than five times a week.  And a 2004 Army survey found that nearly a third of young Americans ages 16 to 24 had some contact with the game in the previous six months.
 

This August 6, on the 63rd Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, come out and ask the Producers and developers of America’s Army to stop helping the Army recruit children. 

 

We are asking you to consider three steps:

1.  Support for our campaign against America’s Army

2.  Sign our letter and endorse this campaign.

3.  Participate in our upcoming event on Hiroshima Day (Wed., Aug. 6), at noon, in South Park (btw 2nd/3rd, Bryant/Brannan), asking these companies to either withdraw from their Army contracts or provide a warning label: “This game is designed to recruit children in violation of international law.  Military service can be hazardous to your health.”





July 19th: Don’t Attack Iran! Die-in at Pelosi’s Home!

16 07 2008

Saturday, July 19th, 4PM

2640 Broadway (between Scott & Divisadero) in SF

Come Die-in at Speaker Pelosi’s home to demonstrate the human cost of any potential attack on Iran by the United States or its allies. There will be a non-arrestable component of the demonstration featuring an altar to those who may die in any attack. Please bring photos, candles, notes, mementos or anything else regarding Iranian people to leave as a permanent altar on Pelosi’s doorstep.

As the Bush administration maneuvers to bomb Iran, Congress has been a willing enabler of the administration’s crimes of aggression. Pelosi is one of the “gang of eight” – congressional leaders that granted the administration the powers (and $400 Mil.) for covert operations inside Iran to destabilize the regime and potentially clear the path for war. Congress and Speaker Pelosi have the ability to stop the administration’s war plans. They can pass a resolution requiring congressional approval for any future military action. Instead Congress is considering H. Con. Res. 362, a resolution that calls for the enforcement of sanctions and a possible military blockade, yet another step in the escalation to war.

Why her house? A die-in at Pelosi’s home will highlight the human cost of the bombing, in residential neighborhoods like Pelosi’s, and it’ll get her attention. She represents an anti-war district – her constituents are serious about ending our current wars and preventing any future ones. As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi can do more to block the administration’s efforts for another murderous war.

Actions on the weekend of July 19th will coincide with UFPJ’s national call for action on July 19-21. Co-Sponsors include United for Peace and Justice, Act Against Torture, Direct Action to Stop the War, Code Pink, Global Exchange, the Ecumenical Peace Institute, World Can’t Wait, Labor committee for Peace and Justice, East Bay Coalition in Support of Self Rule by Iraqis, Stop Funding the War Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Stop AIPAC, and Iraq Moratorium. For more information visit actagainstwar.net

Don’t Attack Iran!

Die-in at Pelosi’s Home!

Saturday, July 19th, 4PM

2640 Broadway (between Scott & Divisadero) in SF





May 28 Report: Demand Justice from Chevron

14 05 2008

CLEAN UP CHEVRON! COALITION CONFRONTS COMPANY EXECUTIVES

AT ANNUAL SHAREHOLDERS MEETING

PEACE, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS TO CHEVRON SHAREHOLDERS & EXECS: “CLEAN UP YOUR ACT!”

MAY 28 PHOTO ESSAY LINK By Jeff Paterson

Wednesday, May 28

San Ramon, CA: At Chevron’s annual shareholders meeting, environmental justice, peace, and human rights groups demanded that Chevron clean up its act – from its Richmond refinery, to Iraq, Burma, Nigeria, Ecuador, Canada and the Philippines. Shareholders and human rights representatives from Ecuador, Nigeria, Burma and Richmond confronted Chevron executives and urged shareholders to support environmental and human rights resolutions inside the meeting. Outside the gates a rally and mass “theater action” supported the resolutions and demanded Chevron stop abusing environmental and human rights. The “CLEAN UP CHEVRON CREW”, donning hazardous materials protective clothing and wielding brooms, “assisted” Chevron in cleaning up its abuses.

While much of the shareholders meeting focused on the human rights and environmental resolutions, none of them were passed. Chevron CEO David O’Reilly defended the company saying it was the “wrong target” for the protests. Chevron is the second largest oil company in the US and has four years of record profits, including over $18 billion last year.

The protesters highlighted a litany of Chevron crimes from Iraq, Burma, Ecuador, Nigeria, the Philippines, Canada, and Richmond, California.

“Mega-mergers and mass consolidation has given Chevron and a small handful of oil companies oligopolistic control of the U.S. oil and gas market – allowing them to manipulate prices and push consumers and the economy to the financial brink,” said Antonia Juhasz of Oil Change International, author of the forthcoming, The Tyranny of Oil. “Chevron hopes to expand its control to Iraq, where it has been an early and eager war profiteer. The U.S. invasion of Iraq gave Chevron, among other companies, access to marketing contracts for Iraqi oil. Chevron has also been at the forefront of pushing for a new oil system in Iraq that would move the country from a nationalized to a privatized model and has been in ongoing negotiations with the Iraqis on oil contracts.”

In a letter to Chevron executives and shareholders, the Iraqi Oil Workers Union called on Chevron to end the war and occupation in Iraq and to stop pushing for the Iraqi Oil Law. Their message read in part, “We call upon the governments, corporations and other institutions behind the ongoing occupation of Iraq to respond to our demands for real democracy, true sovereignty and self-determination, free of all foreign interference.”

In Ecuador Chevron faces a $16 billion lawsuit for destroying the homes, health and environment of five indigenous groups and 80 Ecuadorian communities.

“Indigenous people in Ecuador face an exploding health crisis because of Chevron’s activities,” said Mitch Anderson of Amazon Watch. “It dumped 18.5 billion gallons of toxic waste directly into Ecuador’s ancient rainforest – a spill roughly 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster. The result has been increased rates of cancer and birth defects that have been devastating for the people who live there.”

In Richmond, California, Chevron’s 106 year old refinery produces over two million pounds of toxic climate-poisoning air and water pollutants each year. Rather than clean up, Chevron is seeking to expand its production to process ‘dirty crude’.

“Chevron needs to take responsibility for its actions around the world and stop pushing its dirty crude refinery expansion that will create more pollution, sickness and death right here in Richmond,” said Torm Nompraseurt of the Richmond, California based Laotian Organizing Project.

In Nigeria, Chevron is charged with providing company helicopters for Nigerian military to attack peaceful protesters. Human rights and environmental groups staged a demonstration on a Chevron oil platform in 1998 to protest the environmental harm Chevron was causing in the Niger River Delta. The Nigerian military, ferried in on Chevron helicopters, opened fire, killing 2 and wounding more.

“Chevron must give up violence as a way of doing business,” said Nigerian human rights leader Omoyele Sowore, who spoke at the shareholder meeting. A victim of the attack, Larry Bowoto, was permanently disabled after being shot by Nigeria’s Mobile Police. He also addressed shareholders and is lead plaintiff in the Bowoto v. Chevron lawsuit to be heard in a San Francisco court in the fall.

In Burma, Chevron pays millions of dollars in oil and gas royalties to the brutal military junta every year. In the Philippines, the Supreme Court has ruled for the removal of the Pandacan oil terminals for safety violations including the January 2008 explosion from a defective tanker. Chevron is a party to the Pandacan terminals. In Alberta, Canada, Chevron is a leading producer of ‘tar-sand’ crude, creating more than 3 times the amount of global warming pollution than conventional oil production.

In the Philippines more than 84,000 residents live in the immediate of Pandacan, Manila’s massive oil depots, owned jointly by Chevron, Petron and Shell. An explosion in Pandacan, Manila, the busy capital of the Philippines, could arguably turn into the world’s biggest petrochemical disaster. Pandacan is located in the heart of Manila, the capital of the Philippines where more than 10 million people live. There is no real buffer zone between the depot and the residents, who are regularly exposed to hazardous chemicals that are detrimental to human health and the environment. Community groups and advocates urge for responsible relocation of the oil depot in their midst.

Addressing the shareholders were Luis Yanza, 2008 Goldman Environmental Award Recipient; Emergildo Criollo, Ecuadorian Indigenous Leader; Omoyele Sowore and Larry Bowoto, Nigerian Human Rights Activists; and Naw Musi, an exiled indigenous woman from Burma.

The actions were organized by the Clean Up Chevron Coalition and co-sponsored by Direct Action to Stop the War, Amazon Watch, Laotian Organizing Project, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Justice for Nigeria Now, Global Exchange, Burmese American Democratic Alliance-SF, Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity, Rainforest Action Network, US Labor Against the War, United for Peace and Justice-Bay Area, Richmond Greens, Richmond Progressive Alliance, West County Toxics Coalition

For more information visit actagainstwar.net or chevrontoxico.org
– end -





May 1: May Day Against the War and For Immigrants Rights

22 04 2008

SAN FRANCISCO MAY DAY ACTIONS
THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2008

Join Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) in solidarity with immigrants and ILWU dockworkers on May Day. Dockworkers are taking direct action against the war by stopping work at West Coast ports on International Workers’ Day. Meanwhile, immigrant rights groups will again be marching this year demanding amnesty.

DASW will also go to the military recruitment center and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Let’s call for an end to the war and protest the military’s bribing of immigrants to enlist in the war as a fast track to citizenship!

“Support dockworkers’ direct action!”
“The war is illegal — immigrants aren’t!”

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2008
NO PEACE, NO WORK!
Join us all day, or for part of it.

10:30 AM
Join the DASW contingent in the ILWU’s anti-war march
>> Meet at Beach St. at Mason St. (Take Muni F-Market.)

NOON
Join DASW at the ILWU’s anti-war rally
>> Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART)

12:30 PM
March/protest at military recruitment center & ICE
>> Depart from Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART)

2:30 PM
Join DASW at the immigrant rights rally and march.
(Please, no direct action here, per immigrant groups’ request.)
>> Dolores Park (18th St. at Dolores, 16th Street BART)

Get text message updates on May 1st: text ‘follow daswmayday’ to ‘40404’

MORE INFORMATION:
dasw.mayday@gmail.com





March 20: Rally & Hearing Against Chevron’s Dirty Crude Refining Expansion!

20 03 2008

CLEAN AIR, HEALTHY KIDS, NOT DIRTY CRUDE!

Thursday, March 20, 2008
6:15 – Rally Outside of Richmond City Hall
7:00 – Planning Commission Hearing (bring food and snacks– we need folks to stay for the whole hearing!). To testify people need to sign up before 7pm and 1-3 minute public testimony will take place around 10pm.

Richmond City Council
1401 Marina Way South (past Regatta)

*Carpool-Offer a Ride or Catch one at 5:45 Richmond BART (510 967-7377)
* AC transit bus #74 stops near by
* Driving Directions: From Oakland/East of Richmond:Take I-580 W. Take the CUTTING BLVD exit toward HARBOUR WAY SOUTH. Turn RIGHT onto CUTTING BLVD. Turn RIGHT onto MARINA WAY S.

Community Demands:

* No Increase In pollution! Reduce Current Pollution Levels!
* Environmental justice, worker justice and right to know are a must!
* Chevron’s expansion must provide a meaningful
public review process, including considering alternatives to refining dirtier crude!
* Recirculation of the EIR! Suspend the approval process until there is full disclosure of changes in crude oil stock & its impacts!

We are encouraging all residents of Richmond and surrounding communities (Bay Area-wide) to make testimony at this hearing. Please demand that the Planning Commission suspend the process, recirculate the Final EIR (environmental impact report) as it is missing emissions data and does not disclose the true scope of this project.

Additionally, let them know that you don’t want any dirtier crude refined in Richmond.

See Communities for a Better Environment.
See the agenda on the hearing and more info.

For more information please contact:
Jessica Tovar 510-302-0430 ext 24
Dr Henry Clark 510- 232-3427








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