Boycott the Sponsors of Fox News

Posted: January 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | 1 Comment »

or at least tell them you’re going to!

Here are some great resources that list the sponsors and their addresses.

Fuck Faux News!

Bahahaha: Dutch_Doomsday_Fox_News_2.jpg (90.09 K) corporate_news.jpeg

Direct action against foreclosing banks!

Posted: January 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

Yes We Can use grassroots organizing to effect people’s lives.

Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spreads Across the Land

By Ben Ehrenreich, The Nation. Posted January 23, 2009.

Community-based movements to halt the flood of foreclosures have been building across the country. And they’re not the usual suspects.

"This is a crowd that won’t scatter," James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland’s east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots "home defense" organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people — mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe — soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, "vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home."

"The small home-owners of the United States are organizing," Steele concluded, "tardily perhaps, but none the less surely." It wasn’t just homeowners — three months earlier the governor of Iowa had called out the National Guard after farmers stormed a courthouse and threatened to hang the judge if he didn’t stop issuing foreclosures. They left him in a ditch, bruised but alive. By the end of the 1930s, farmers’ and home-owners’ struggles had pushed the legislatures of no fewer than twenty-seven states to pass moratoriums on foreclosures.

The crowds appear to be gathering again — far more quietly this time but hardly tentatively. Community-based movements to halt the flood of foreclosures have been building across the country. They turned out in Cleveland once again in October, when a coalition of grassroots housing groups rallied outside the Cuyahoga County courthouse, calling for a foreclosure freeze and constructing a mock graveyard of Styrofoam headstones bearing the names of local communities decimated by the housing crisis. (They did not, unfortunately, stop the more than 1,000 foreclosure filings in the county the following month.) In Boston the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America began protesting in front of Countrywide Financial offices in October 2007. Within weeks, Countrywide had agreed to work with the group to renegotiate loans. In Philadelphia ACORN and other community organizations helped to pressure the city council to order the county sheriff to halt foreclosure auctions this past March. Philadelphia has since implemented a program mandating "conciliation conferences" between defaulting homeowners and lenders. ACORN organizers say the program has a 78 percent success rate at keeping people in their homes. One activist group in Miami has taken a more direct approach to the crisis, housing homeless families in abandoned bank-owned homes without waiting for government permission.

It’s unlikely, though, that any of these activists will be able to relax soon. Other than calling for a ninety-day freeze on foreclosures — which, given that loan negotiations can take many months to work out, would almost certainly be inadequate — President Obama has been consistently vague about his plans to address the foreclosure crisis. He has indicated his support for a $24 billion program proposed in November by FDIC chair Sheila Bair, which would offer banks incentives to renegotiate loans, aiming to reduce mortgage payments to 31 percent of homeowners’ monthly income. Obama’s economic team has since worked with House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank on a bill that would require that between $40 billion and $100 billion of what’s left in the bailout package be spent on an unspecified foreclosure mitigation program. It would be left to Obama’s Treasury Department to design that program. But Frank’s and Bair’s proposed plans are voluntary. Banks that choose not to accept federal assistance won’t have to renegotiate a single loan.

Community organizers, however, aren’t sitting around waiting for banks to come to the table. Nowhere have they had more cause to keep busy than in California, home to a quarter of the 3.2 million foreclosures filed in the country last year. The collapse of the state’s hyperinflated real estate market has left as many as 27 percent of mortgage holders owing more on their homes than the properties are worth; California’s foreclosure rate is more than twice the national average. From San Diego to Stockton, in churches, union halls and community centers, angry homeowners have been organizing to freeze foreclosures and impose a systematic modification of home loans.

The crisis has produced some unlikely activists. Faith Bautista didn’t start out as a rabble-rouser. A small, energetic and stubbornly cheerful woman, she has run a tiny nonprofit called the Mabuhay Alliance since 2004. Until recently, it functioned as an all-purpose minority small-business association. With a staff of six working out of a mini-mall office behind an auto parts store in an industrial section of San Diego, the Mabuhay Alliance served a largely Filipino community (mabuhay translates roughly from Tagalog as viva!) offering, among other services, free income-tax preparation, microloans and counseling for first-time homeowners.

It was through the latter program that Bautista heard the first rumblings of the mortgage meltdown, which would ultimately bring down Wall Street’s most powerful financial firms. Southern California’s development boom hadn’t yet begun to ebb in late 2006, but, Bautista says, "people were already calling us and asking what was going to happen. They were clearly going to default."

The community Mabuhay serves — about 40 percent Filipino, the remainder Latino, African-American and other Asians — was hit particularly hard. Throughout the housing boom, immigrant and minority borrowers were disproportionately issued high-priced subprime loans, even when they qualified for less expensive, fixed-rate mortgages. One study by the California Reinvestment Coalition found that African-American and Latino borrowers were nearly four times as likely as whites to receive high-cost mortgages. Bautista had an adjustable-rate mortgage on the home she bought in 2004. Her monthly payments soon leapt to $6,000. It took her nine months, she says, and a personal meeting with the CEO of the bank that held her mortgage, to renegotiate the loan. It quickly became obvious to her that fighting the banks on an individual basis would be inadequate to the scale of the crisis — only an organized battle for systematic changes would help keep people in their homes.

In the early months of 2007, as the first of the subprime lenders began to declare bankruptcy, Bautista started contacting major lenders, asking them to stop foreclosures and take part in a "massive loan-modification program" — dropping interest rates, writing down principals and donating executive bonuses to a fund for borrowers at risk of default. If lenders shared responsibility for the crisis, she calculated, homeowners shouldn’t bear the full brunt of the suffering. Not surprisingly, she laughs, "they didn’t want to talk to us."

That summer, with the help of the Greenlining Institute, a Berkeley-based research and advocacy group that works on racial equality issues, she was able to arrange a meeting with Countrywide co-founder and CEO Angelo Mozilo. At the time, almost one-fourth of Countrywide’s subprime loans were delinquent. The meeting, Bautista says, was fruitless: "Eyes are closed, ears are closed." Over the next few months, she met three more times with Countrywide management, getting nowhere. "They didn’t want to admit they were doing anything wrong."

Elected officials appeared equally blind to the extent of the problem. Countrywide’s stock had plummeted, but the influence of the nation’s largest mortgage lender still ran deep. Mozilo’s so-called Friends of Angelo program had cut favorable deals on loans to his highly placed acquaintances, including Christopher Dodd and Kent Conrad, chairs of the Senate banking and budget committees, respectively. And Countrywide, along with other top mortgage lenders and industry associations, spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and gave millions more in campaign contributions. By mid-October 2007, the government’s only response to the foreclosure crisis had been the creation of the Hope Now alliance, a voluntary mortgage-industry coalition that established a telephone hot line to aid homeowners in altering the terms of their mortgages. But, critics say, the program has done little more than design repayment plans that in many cases actually increased borrowers’ monthly payments. "I call it Hope Not," quips Bautista.

At the state level, things weren’t much better. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brokered a nonbinding agreement in which Countrywide and other lenders volunteered to extend the introductory low interest rates on some adjustable-rate mortgages. It only deferred disaster and did nothing for those who were already in default. Meanwhile, new foreclosure records were being broken every month.

The day before Thanksgiving, the Mabuhay Alliance, joined by the Mexican-American Political Alliance, staged a protest in front of Countrywide’s San Diego office. They attempted to hand-deliver a turkey to Mozilo, who, not counting stock options, would be paid $22 million in 2007, down from $42 million in 2006. Once again, the doors were locked. Only about fifty people showed up that day, but the protest got enough press to have a powerful symbolic effect. "No one was willing to take on Mozilo in California," says Greenlining’s Robert Gnaizda. "He held enormous power. And [Bautista] took him on. She forced the financial industry to pay attention."

The next week, Bautista and Gnaizda went to Washington and met with Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and FDIC chair Sheila Bair, asking for a freeze on foreclosures and wholesale relief for mortgage holders. Bair was receptive, Bautista says. Bernanke was not. Eight months later, when the FDIC took over IndyMac, Bair immediately suspended foreclosures. "Now they’re willing to do it," Bautista shrugs. If they’d acted earlier, she says, "all those people who were foreclosed wouldn’t have been foreclosed."

In December, a few weeks after the Countrywide protest, she and Gnaizda wangled a meeting with California Attorney General Jerry Brown, asking him to sue Countrywide for defrauding borrowers. He wasn’t interested, Bautista says. The following June, a few days before Bank of America bought out the crippled lender, Brown finally filed suit against Mozilo and Countrywide. Gnaizda explains the delay: "Countrywide was not weak in December."

In the meantime, all the major loan providers in the country have agreed to work with Mabuhay to modify individual loans. This means, Bautista says, that Mabuhay can help about twenty people a week. She is far from satisfied. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars given to the financial industry, no federal or state government has provided any substantive relief to the people hit the hardest by the mortgage crisis — the ones who are losing their homes. "You gotta start from the bottom and go up," Bautista says. "If you start at the top, then at the bottom you get crumbs. You get nothing."

In December Mabuhay sponsored a "foreclosure clinic" at a community college in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo, which despite its small size — its population is about 112,000 — boasted the tenth-highest foreclosure rate in the country at the time. About 150 anxious homeowners showed up, clutching thick folders of financial documents, waiting to speak with mortgage counselors. Their stories were painfully similar: one couple was struggling to pay an interest rate of 16 percent; another was unable to make $4,300 monthly payments and owed $630,000 on a home worth $370,000; another, in their mid-60s, had resigned themselves to losing the home in which they’d lived for twenty-three years and spending their retirement in a motor home.

Standing beside Bautista at the front of the auditorium, Gnaizda did his best to channel the crowd’s frustration into action. "Ten million families are facing foreclosure right now," he said. "Change is not going to come about because President Obama wants it to. He is not going to act unless you hold his feet to the fire."

Gnaizda was not alone in that conclusion: other grassroots efforts to stop foreclosures have been sprouting up all over California. In metropolitan Los Angeles and Oakland, groups like ACORN had already established an effective infrastructure to organize low-income homeowners. A list of community demands that came out of a December 2007 ACORN-sponsored meeting at an Oakland senior center became the basis for a July state law requiring banks to warn homeowners thirty days before filing a notice of default. The law is credited with dramatically lowering foreclosure rates in California for two months after it took effect. (Predictably, foreclosure rates resumed their northward climb after that.)

More recently, ACORN has been pushing the adoption of the program the group helped pioneer in Philadelphia, a mandatory mediation process that forces lenders to negotiate with homeowners before filing a judgment of default. "If they can’t figure this out in Sacramento," says ACORN’s Austin King, "they’re not trying."

Much of the local organizing on the issue, though, has not come from the usual activist suspects. Circumstances have forced groups that usually practice more staid forms of engagement into the fray, particularly in the former industrial towns just beyond the urban fringe, which have been among those hit hardest by the economic collapse. The antiforeclosure movement in Antioch, about thirty-five miles east of Vallejo, began with ten people forming an organizing committee at a local Catholic church. "We just heard dozens and dozens of stories of people struggling to keep their homes, of people losing their homes. They couldn’t get any of the banks to respond or even speak to them," says Adam Kruggel, executive director of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO). Two hundred and fifty people showed up at the group’s first meeting on the issue. "We sort of deputized ourselves," Kruggel says. "The government wasn’t regulating the banks, so we were going to embarrass them in public."

The strategy worked. CCISCO protested in front of several Antioch bank branches in May. Lenders soon began returning the group’s phone calls and agreeing to renegotiate their members’ loans. But the Bush administration’s bailout plan generated enough anger that, Kruggel says, "we realized we needed to work on a local and national level. For less than what [the Treasury] gave Wells Fargo, they could create a loan-modification program that could save a million and a half families their homes." CCISCO began coordinating with similar efforts one county over in Stockton and halfway across the country in Kansas City, and the group sent a lobbying delegation to Washington. It’s asking for a six-month freeze on foreclosures and a cap on mortgage payments at 34 percent of family income. "Any bank that got any bailout money needs to do systematic loan modifications," Kruggel says. "We’re not going to wait for the Obama administration."

Craig Robbins, who directs ACORN’s foreclosure campaign, echoes Kruggel’s sentiment: "We’re excited about some of the things Obama has been saying, but there’s got to be tremendous pressure for a real, comprehensive federal solution." Taking cues from Depression-era antiforeclosure movements, ACORN activists began disrupting foreclosure sales at courthouses across the country in Januaary. "We’re looking to throw a wrench in the foreclosure machinery," says Robbins, adding that ACORN is planning to organize "rapid defense teams" ready to turn out crowds on short notice to prevent evictions. Until that happens, it might help to remember that the crowd of thousands that came to the Sparanga family’s defense in Cleveland didn’t gather until four years into the Depression. This one has just begun.

Ayers, Beehive Collective, and Riot Folk in Tally!

Posted: December 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

Thanks to CPE!!

William Ayers, the Weather Underground ‘terrorist’ who Obama supposedly palled around with, will be coming to speak at FSU on January 12 at 8pm in the Union Ballroom. Promises to be fascinating.

The Beehive Collective ( will be coming January 21. They resist biodevestation, pollution, cultural assimilation and exploitation of workers in central/south america (the poster below is an example for their protest of Plan Colombia, which is fucking horrific. this does it no justice, as the posters are exquisitely detailed. see their site)

Then March 1-3 Riot Folks ( are coming to do presentations and workshops! I’m super excited about that :)

SWEEEEEEEEEET plan_colombia.jpg

Is Protesting Worth It? (Really Good!)

Posted: September 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | 1 Comment »

In this case, yes. so inspiring, read all of it. We need to perhaps work with CPE to determine where protests are happening in the area and what new ones we can brew up. Clearly they won’t be as huge as the WTO protests, but raising consciousness is important, even though some people will blow you off and say you get nothing accomplished. Sometimes, you get a lot accomplished, simply by bypassing corporate media to bring information to people who wouldn’t have otherwise had it (Read the Andre 3000 line in this article, lol)! [ALSO can someone please download this movie or something?? We need to watch it! I’m so pleased with all of the great actors who took part in this!]

Also I included an interesting article and my take on it as a reply.

Is ‘Taking it to the Streets’ Worth the Bruises, Tear Gas and Arrests?

By Mark Engler, AlterNet. Posted September 29, 2008.

The 1999 protests against the WTO were dramatic enough to inspire a new feature film, but did they actually make a difference?

Nine years after the World Trade Organization came to Seattle, a new feature film sets out to dramatize the historic protests that the institution’s meetings provoked. The issue that "Battle in Seattle" filmmaker Stuart Townsend seeks to raise, as he recently stated, is "(what it takes) to create real and meaningful change."

The question is notoriously difficult. In the film, characters like Martin Henderson’s Jay, a veteran environmental campaigner driven by a tragedy experienced on a past logging campaign, and Michelle Rodriguez’s Lou, a hard-bitten animal rights activist, debate the effectiveness of protest. Even as they take to Seattle’s streets, staring down armor-clad cops (Woody Harrelson, Channing Tatum) commanded by a tormented and indecisive mayor (Ray Liotta), they wonder whether their actions can have an impact.

Generally speaking, the response of many Americans is to dismiss protests out of hand, arguing that demonstrators are just blowing off steam and won’t make a difference. But if any case can be held as a counter-example, Seattle is it.

The 1999 mobilization against the World Trade Organization has never been free from criticism. As Andre 3000’s character in the movie quips, even the label "Battle in Seattle" makes the protests sound less like a serious political event and more "like a monster truck rally." While the demonstrations were still playing out and police were busy arresting some 600 people, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman issued his now-famous edict stating that deluded activists were just "looking for their 1960s fix." This type of disregard has continued with the release of the film. A review in the Seattle Weekly dismissively asked, "Remind me again what those demonstrations against the WTO actually accomplished."

While cynicism comes cheap, those concerned about global poverty, sweatshop labor, outsourced jobs and threats to the environment can witness remarkable changes on the international scene. Today, trade talks at the WTO are in shambles, sister institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are now shriveled versions of their once-imposing selves, and the ideology of neoliberal corporate globalization is under intense fire, with mainstream economists defecting from its ranks and entire regions such as Latin America in outright revolt. As global justice advocates have long argued, the forces that created these changes "did not start in Seattle." Yet few trade observers would deny that the week of protest late in the last millennium marked a critical turning point.

What Happened in Seattle?

"Battle in Seattle" accurately depicts the mainstream media as being overwhelmingly focused on the smashed windows of Starbucks and Niketown — property destruction carried out by a small minority of protesters. In the past two decades, the editorial boards of major U.S. newspapers have been more dogged than even many pro-corporate legislators in pushing the "free trade" agenda. Yet, remarkably, acknowledgement of the WTO protests’ impact on globalization politics could be found even in their pages. Shortly after the event, the Los Angeles Times wrote, "On the teargas-shrouded streets of Seattle, the unruly forces of democracy collided with the elite world of trade policy. And when the meeting ended in failure … the elitists had lost and the debate had changed forever."

Seattle was supposed to be a moment of crowning achievement for corporate globalization. Big-business sponsors of the Seattle Ministerial (donors of $75,000 or more included Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, Boeing and GM) invested millions to make it a showcase of "New Economy" grandeur. Any student of public relations could see that the debacle they experienced instead could hardly be less desirable for advancing their agenda.

Rarely do protesters have the satisfaction of achieving their immediate goals, especially when their stated aims are as grandiose as shutting down a major trade meeting. Yet the direct action in Seattle did just that on its first day, with activists chained around the conference center forcing the WTO to cancel its opening ceremonies.

By the end of the week, negotiations had collapsed altogether. Trade representatives from the global South, emboldened by the push from civil society, launched their own revolt from within the conference. Jumping between scenes of street protest and depictions of the ministers’ trade debate, Townsend’s film illustrates this inside-outside dynamic. Dialogue at one point in the movie for actor Isaach De Bankole, who plays an African trade minister, is pulled almost verbatim from a real statement released that week by Organization of African Unity. The ministers railed against "being marginalized and generally excluded on issues of vital importance for our peoples and their future."

The demands of the developing countries’ governments were not always the same as those of the outside protesters. However, the diverse forces agreed on some key points. Expressing his disgust for how the WTO negotiations had been conducted, Sir Shridath Ramphal, the chief Caribbean negotiator, argued, "This should not be a game about enhancing corporate profits. This should not be a time when big countries, strong countries, the world’s wealthiest countries, are setting about a process designed to enrich themselves."

Given that less powerful countries had typically been bullied into compliance at trade ministerials, this was highly unusual stuff. Yet it would become increasingly normal. Seattle launched a series of setbacks for the WTO and, to this day, the institution has yet to recover. Efforts to expand the reach of the WTO have repeatedly failed, and the overtly unilateralist Bush White House has been even less effective than the "cooperative" Clinton administration at getting its way in negotiations.

This past summer, analyst Walden Bello dubbed the current round of WTO talks the "Dracula Round" because it lives in an undead state. No matter how many times elites try to revive the round, it seems destined to suffer a new death — as it did most recently in late July. Other agreements, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which aimed to extend NAFTA throughout the hemisphere and which drew protests in places like Quebec City and Miami, have since been abandoned altogether.

"We Care Too"

The altered fate of the WTO is itself very significant. But this is only part of a wider series of transformations that the global justice protests of the Seattle era helped to usher in. Toward the end of "Battle in Seattle," Andre 3000’s character, an activist who spends a decent part of the film dressed as a sea turtle, makes a key point: "A week ago nobody knew what the WTO was," he says. "Now … they still don’t know what it is. But at least they know it’s bad."

The Seattle protests launched thousands of conversations about what type of global society we want to live in. While they have often been depicted as mindless rioters, activists were able to push their message through. A poll published in Business Week in late December 1999 showed that 52 percent of respondents were sympathetic with the protesters, compared with 39 percent who were not. Seventy-two percent agreed that the United States should "strengthen labor, environmental and endangered species protection standards" in international treaties, while only 21 percent disagreed.

A wave of increased sympathy and awareness dramatically changed the climate for longtime campaigners. People who had been quietly laboring in obscurity for years suddenly found themselves amid a huge surge of popular energy, resources and legitimacy. Obviously, the majority of Americans did not drop everything to become trade experts. But an impressive number, especially on college campuses and in union halls, did take time to learn more — about sweatshops and corporate power, about global access to water and the need for local food systems, about the connection between job loss at home and exploitation abroad.

With the protests that took place in the wake of Seattle, finance ministers who had grown accustomed to meeting in secretive sessions behind closed doors were suddenly forced to defend their positions before the public. Often, official spokespeople hardly offered a defense of WTO, IMF and World Bank policies at all. Instead they spent most of their time trying to convince audiences that they, too, cared about poverty. In particular, the elites who gather annually in the Swiss Alps for the exclusive World Economic Forum became obsessed with branding themselves as defenders of the world’s poor. The Washington Post noted of the 2002 forum, "The titles of workshops read like headlines from the Nation: ‘Understanding Global Anger,’ ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ and ‘The Politics of Apology.’"

Joseph Stiglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank who was purged after he outspokenly criticized the IMF, perhaps most clearly described the remarkable shift in elite discussion that has taken place since global justice protests first captured the media spotlight. In a 2006 book, he wrote:

I have been going to the annual meetings (in Davos, Switzerland) for many years and had always heard globalization spoken of with great enthusiasm. What was fascinating … was the speed at which views had shifted (by 2004). … This change is emblematic of the massive change in thinking about globalization that has taken place in the last five years all around the world. In the 1990s, the discussion at Davos had been about the virtues of opening international markets. By the early years of the millennium, it centered on poverty reduction, human rights and the need for fairer trade arrangements.

Changing Policy

Of course, much of the shift at Davos is just talk. But the wider political changes go far beyond rhetoric. As Stiglitz noted, "Even the IMF now agrees that capital market liberalization has contributed neither to growth nor to stability." Grassroots activity has translated into concrete change on other levels as well. Even some critics of the global justice movement have noted that activists have scored a number of significant policy victories. In a September 2000 editorial titled "Angry and Effective," the Economist reported that the movement

… already has changed things — and not just the cocktail schedule for the upcoming meetings. Protests … succeeded in scuttling the (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s) planned Multilateral Agreement on Investment in 1998; then came the greater victory in Seattle, where the hoped-for launch of global trade talks was aborted. … This has dramatically increased the influence of mainstream NGOs, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and Oxfam. … Assaulted by unruly protesters, firms and governments are suddenly eager to do business with the respectable face of dissent.

Various combinations of "respectable" negotiators and "unruly" dissidents have forced shifts on a wide range of issues. It is not glamorous work to trace the issue-by-issue changes that activists have eked out — whether it’s compelling multinational pharmaceutical companies to drop intellectual property lawsuits against African governments seeking to provide affordable AIDS drugs for their citizens, or creating a congressional ban on World Bank loans that impose user fees on basic health care and education for the poor, or persuading administrators at more than 140 colleges to make their institutions take part in the anti-sweatshop Worker Rights Consortium. Yet these changes affect many lives.

Take just one demand: debt relief. For decades, countries whose people suffer tremendous deprivation have been forced to send billions of dollars to Washington in payment for past debts — many of which were accumulated by dictators overthrown years ago. Debt relief advocates were among the thousands who joined the Seattle mobilization, and they saw their cause quickly gain mainstream respectability in the altered climate that followed. In 2005, the world’s wealthiest countries agreed to a breakthrough debt cancellation agreement that, while imperfect, shifted roughly $1 billion per year in resources back to the global South.

In early 2007, Imani Countess, national coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program, noted that the impact of the deal has been profound:

In Ghana, the money saved is being used for basic infrastructure, including rural feeder roads, as well as increased expenditure on education and health care.

In Burundi, elimination of school fees in 2005 allowed an additional 300,000 children to enroll.

In Zambia, since March 31, 2006, free basic health care has been provided for all (along with) a pledge to recruit 800 medical personnel and slightly over 4,000 teachers.

In Cameroon, (the government made) a pledge to recruit some 30,000 new teachers by the year 2015 and to construct some 1,000 health facilities within the next six years.

"They won the verbal and policy battle," said Gary Hufbauer, a "pro-globalization" economist at the Institute for International Economics in 2002, speaking of the groups that have organized major globalization protests. "They did shift policy. Are they happy that they shifted it enough? No, they’re not ever going to be totally happy, because they’re always pushing."

A Crisis of Legitimacy

In its review of "Battle in Seattle," the Hollywood industry publication Variety notes that "the post-9/11 war on terror did a great deal to bury (the) momentum" of the global justice movement. This idea has become a well-worn trope; however, it is only partially true. In the wake of 9/11, activists did shift attention to opposing the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. But, especially in the global South, protesters combined a condemnation of U.S. militarism with a critique of "Washington Consensus" economic policies. In the post-Seattle era, these polices have faced a crisis of legitimacy throughout much of the world.

Privatization, deregulation and corporate market access have failed to reduce inequality or create sustained growth in developing countries. This has led an increasing number of mainstream economists, Stiglitz most prominent among them, to question some of the most cherished tenets of neoliberal "free trade" economics. Not only are the intellectual foundations of neoliberal doctrine under assault, the supposed beneficiaries of these economic prescriptions are now walking away. Throughout Latin America, waves of popular opposition to Washington Consensus policies have forced conservative governments from power. In election after election since the turn of the millennium, the people have put left-of-center leaders in office.

The Asian financial crisis, which occurred shortly before Seattle, and the collapse of Argentina’s economy, which took place shortly afterward, starkly illustrated the risks of linking a country’s future to the whims of international financial speculators. Those Asian countries hammered in 1997 and 1998 have now stockpiled massive currency reserves so that the White House and the IMF will not be able to dictate their economic policies in the future. Similarly, Latin American nations have paid off IMF loans early to escape the institution’s control.

The result has been swift and decisive. In 2004, the IMF’s loan portfolio was roughly $100 billion. Today it has fallen to around $10 billion, rendering the institution almost impotent. As economist Mark Weisbrot noted, "the IMF’s loss of influence is probably the most important change in the international financial system in more than half a century."

Currently, the United States is experiencing its own crisis of deregulation and financial gambling. We are now afforded the rare sight of Sen. John McCain blasting "Wall Street greed" and accusing financiers of "(treating) the American economy like a casino." Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama decries the removal of government oversight on markets and the doctrine of trickle-down prosperity as "an economic philosophy that has completely failed." In each case, their words might have been plucked from Seattle’s teach-ins and protest signs.

Townsend’s film ends with the admonition that "the battle continues." The struggle in the coming years will be to compel those in power to transform campaign-trail rhetoric into a real rejection of corporate globalization. The White House would still like to pass ever-newer "free trade" agreements. And the WTO, while bruised and battered, has not been eliminated entirely. Because its original mandate is still intact, the institution has considerable power in dictating the terms of economic development in much of the world. Opposing this will require continued grassroots pressure.

On a broader level, huge challenges of global poverty, inequality, militarism and environmental degradation remain. Few, if any, participants in the 1999 mobilization believed that a single demonstration would eliminate these problems in one tidy swoop, and I very much doubt that anyone involved with the "Battle in Seattle" thinks a single film will solve them, either. But the coming fight will be easier if the spirit that drove those protests animates a new surge of citizen activism in the post-Bush era.

here’s a bunch of pictures of the worldwide protests:

One click to plant a FREE TREE!

Posted: September 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | 2 Comments »

woot. trippy_man_tree.jpg

Green Jobs Now

Posted: September 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

what do you think?

i always get these emails

Posted: September 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

from: Stephen Westrich

I am writing on behalf of Work for Progress. We are a group of committed activists who want to connect talented individuals with progressive organizations that are working to make a difference in our country. I’m writing you because I thought you might be interested in some of the organizations and positions we’re recruiting for.

What makes us unique is that we hire for a variety of organizations and positions which gives you the flexibility to interview for multiple positions at once as well as giving us the flexibility to match each candidate with the position that is best.

Right now we are hiring for a number of organizations that are focused on making a difference during the election season. Specifically, we’re looking for field organizers to work with Progressive Future, a non-profit working to promote progressive values through grassroots action and canvass directors to work with The Community Voters Project, a project working to register more than 500,000 minority and underrepresented voters, as well as other positions.

If these positions sound like something you would be interested in applying for, you can apply by sending your resume and cover letter to Ed at For more information, visit

Campaign and Street Art

Posted: September 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | 1 Comment »

Hello all! It may not be the direct action that you had in mind, but it’s time to get involved in this campaign. I don’t care if you’re a tribal anarchist and think voting is a crock of shit; it might be if that’s all you do, so don’t just vote! Participate! Africa needs condoms, y’all, and so do disadvantaged people in our own country! Down with misguided people who think they are Christians denying information to our young people with their ignorance-only education! The Supreme Court needs liberals; people need choices! Stop trampling everything beautiful in nature! Stop hoarding all the wealth in the top 1%, you fuckers don’t need any more money! what are you even doing with it at this point, just investing it to make more, stop and realize more useless stuff will never make you happy grumble grumble

ANYWAY, my mom tells me that getting involved in campaigns is a great way to meet people. Someone yesterday said "yeah and you know that they’re the right people" haha but what I think they meant was that everyone there is going to be truly progressive and sincere about using their energy to make the world a better place for everyone else. And it looks so diverse, too! It will be so nice to see all kinds of people with completely different lives and stories coming together to try to reinvent our country in it’s own image. Watch this video. I like what the one man says about not wanting a country just for me, but wanting our country to be great for everyone! (What is it about that that Republicans don’t understand?)

If you don’t want to call people or go door to door (I’m too scared of that right now, maybe later…) you can enter data with me and help register people to vote. The deadline’s coming soon, and tomorrow from 2-4 we’ll be out with the tailgaters, trying to get people registered. If you want to be involved, meet at the Unconquered statue at the stadium, or reconvene there at 4.

If you have a little money you could donate above, and has a t-shirt you can get if you donate 12$ to them, I’m going that route :)

Here’s some ideas for obama graffiti too! A different approach to direct action. I’ll try and call Kinkos today to see if they have some laminate we could get. if anyone wants to do this, call copy and printing stores, we need their leftover laminate from their laminating machines.

I was gonna link, but just google image ‘obama graffiti,’ the link is too long :)

Posted: September 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

they are sending me a plug. it is coming. until then go to their website.
p.s. who do you want ‘leading’ this country?

Crimethinc Anti-GOP Molotov

Posted: September 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Direct Action | No Comments »

fuck. why didn’t i go protest this convention? it’s so inspirational to participate. and dead prez and rage against the machine played there! argh!

also, crimethinc convergence, should have gone there too!!!!!!!

not that i want to be arrested or necessarily hurt anyone. Molotov_cocktail_flam.jpg