I was there with the black hat shading my face from the sun, yet two people said to me: “You have beautiful eyes.” Witchcraft. We were in a row at city hall plaza in the shadow of the JFK building.
The women in witch costumes had signs: ‘Protect the Dreamers,’ ‘Immigration is a Human Right,’ ‘Support Immigrants – Deport Racists,’ ‘Welcome Immigrants Their Children’ A lot of people gathered to take pictures as the witches sat on a cement wall in a row on City Hall Plaza. I was standing up to the side holding Workers Vanguard on a clipboard and in my hand hawking to the crowd.
Earlier, just after noon, a large table laden with food was set out to feed the arriving protest organizers and rally supporters for immigrant rights. Next to the Massachusetts 54th Memorial, at the top of the stone steps, a sound system was set up and some music was playing. At the foot of the steps, up against a wrought iron gate, there were many signs supporting immigrants and calling for the re-installment of the Dreamers – DACA act.
As the rally’s official starting time of one o’clock approached more people assembled at the foot of the stairs and around a nearby drink vendor with a pushcart. People were sitting on the park benches chatting and eating food with their protest signs by their side. A group of young women gathered closely together as someone took a ‘selfie’ with their phone. The grey skies of the early morning where clearing up and the temperature was a summery seventy degrees.
While there was a good twenty percent or more of the crowd who were older, most of the people look to be in their twenties. There were lots of white people and Latinos along with a smaller number of black and Asian people. Some people had kids in strollers or by the hand. The rally had a festive atmosphere with food and music and conversations and people greeting friends warmly.
Various groups set up tables with books and newspapers like the Socialist Workers Party, and Socialist Alternative. People circulated through the crowd selling Workers World newspaper, and Workers Vanguard. Some had leaflets to hand out. There were passionate political discussions among the many clots of people gathered around before the speeches.
A large group of about a hundred chanting youth marched up the pathway from Commonwealth Avenue with a large banner chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!” to applause from the crowd which parted so the militant contingent could march to the front.
The crowd had swelled to about four hundred people as the first speaker began to address the crowd. On Beacon Street at the top of the stairs one police SUV with blue lights flashing blocked off one lane of travel, but the tourist double-decker buses and regular traffic still went by – some one on the tour bus might be able to get a picture that included the Robert Gould Shaw memorial and the assembled crowd rallying for freedom and compassion right nest to the statue. A dozen cops were near by some of them with bicycles. The police seemed relaxed and the rally and march had a permit with no seeming threat of violence.
A Boston Teachers Union member spoke, someone from the Chelsea Teachers Association also called for tolerance for immigrants whatever their status. Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson spoke to the crowd. Some of the speakers addressed the crowd in Spanish. People were steadily coming up the hill from Park Street Station. A brass band was playing near the fountain near the station, and the sounds drifted up and mingled with the chants.
One sign handed out read: “Trump: Tool of the Rich – Enemy of All Working People”
Another sign: “Justice for Immigrants #DefendDACA”
As the march was to begin the rally marshals lined one of the paths through the common and the speaker at the podium assured people that this was a completely legal march and that there was a permit and the police were in cooperation. The march headed down the slope towards Park Street and crossed Tremont Street as people watched and cheered or jeered from the sidelines. The common was full of people on a beautiful September summer day. Over at the bandstand the Cannabis ‘Freedom’ Rally was taking place. The marchers went down Winter Street as shopkeepers stepped outside to applaud the defense of immigrant rights.
The march turned north on Washington Street which was full of shoppers as the rally moved down the pedestrian mall. As the march stretched out there looked to be about 2,000 people walking and chanting and carrying signs. At the front of the march there were horn players and drummers making some noise and attracting attention. On the sidewalk people raised their cell phones to take pictures or videos of the protest. Many people applauded. In Boston immigrants have support.
Down Washington Street, past the Irish Famine memorial on School Street, past the Old Globe Bookstore now a food joint, past the Old South Church, and then left at the Old Statehouse where all of New England was once governed from by the Colonial Governor sent by the King.
Up Court Street past the back of the Old City Hall and onto City Hall Plaza and over to the steps at the foot of the JFK Federal Building. The crowd filed in and lined up on the stairs facing a podium and listened to speeches. A little after three o’clock the last speaker urged the crowd to continue the campaign to show support for Dreamers and other immigrants who need support from the community they are in, and from all decent people. The radical booksellers folded up their tables and some people left signs behind as the sound system was dismantled and some core planners gathered under the trees near City Hall to plan the next steps.
I was drawing on the train home and sketched on the back of a protest poster I picked up as I was leaving city hall plaza. I had a Workers Vanguard newspaper on my clip board and unrolled the sign on top as best I could on my knees. The front of the poster featured a picture of Trump with a diagonal red line across his face with a DANGER logo underneath and a yellow banner reading – ‘Racist Poison.’ Next to the graphic was the slogan: Trump Tool of the Rich – Enemy of All Working People. I turned over to the empty white back of the poster board and got a pencil out of my backpack. I looked up and saw a man’s tee-shirt facing me with an intricate Celtic weave pattern that I copied onto the back of the poster. In a trance I produced a wavy set of grey lines – what to put in the middle? I drew a cube head in isometric with Easter Island Eyes. You have beautiful eyes.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Minneapolis: Black Muslim Cop Recklessly Shoots A White Woman - Racist Murder?
I honestly don't think it was a racial thing. I also think some of the police shootings were not explicitly racial. White people are the majority of shootings by white cops. But some play everything as 'white racism.' Philandro Castile, a black man, was shot by a Mexican-American cop - many labelled that 'white racism.' Yet when Mexican Americans are shot by cops the Mexicans become 'brown' and that's a racist shooting. '
I think the real issue of Mohamed Noor shooting a white woman was his fitness to be an American police officer. He is an out loud and proud Muslim and he comes from Somalia. The failed state of Somalia fell apart in part because of their horrendously corrupt and brutal police forces. Affirmative action was the reason to push an unqualified person through the police academy. The same sort of situation happened in Seattle. An unqualified Somali was put on the force and simply acted like someone in a tin horn African dictatorship. After a year or so of coddling the inept and clueless 'police officer' he was fired.
What is also notable is the chief of police, a Native American Indian, was on vacation when one of her officers carried out the street execution of the woman. She didn't return from vacation as the biggest international story about her department played out. The mayor of the town instantly sprang into action - to reassure the Somali community that Islamophobia would not be tolerated. Her Facebook page gave an several phone numbers that Somalis could call for help.
When a black person is shot under these kinds of circumstances - its the black community that is comforted. The mayor wouldn't dream of comforting the 'white community.'
In Minneapolis a month ago a crowd of 30 young Somali Muslims drove through a predominately wealthy white neighborhood threatening women who were dressed 'immodestly' and taunting men to fight with the mob. The city leaders sprang into action - to defend Muslims and point out that the vast majority of Somalis did not go through the neighborhood.
The same trend can be seen in the UK. The Muslim mayor of London told people after several Islamic commando attacks that 'terrorist attacks are just a part of life in a big city.' But then a Englishman attacked a group of Muslims and one died. Outrage! This is unacceptable was the response.
There is a double standard. Someone seems to want Muslim populations all over the US and EU. The media labels people who are intellectually opposed the the Islamic system 'racists.' Yet when an unarmed woman who happens to be white calls the police for help and is instantly shot down by a careless poorly disciplined black Muslim cop - silence about the racial aspect.
The media simply wants to make the issue about body cameras. We know what happened. No one thinks the woman was threatening the police with a weapon. That woman made a fatal mistake - she called the police when she thought there was danger. Brendan Behan, and Irish writer, said: "I have never seen a situation so miserable that it could not be made worse by the presence of a policeman."
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Boston Common 11:00 am, 13 May 2017
The Antifa demonstrators were assembled at a monument on a hill, the highest point in Boston Common. Leftist were on the hill waving red flags and black flags and carrying signs. The hill faced the bandstand were the Alt Right was rallying. The crowd was about 200 people with maybe 40 Black Block activists out front halfway down the hill. The police had a line of about ten cops on the walkway at the bottom of the hill. The police faced the Antifa crowd.
Liberals who had endorsed the demonstration had wanted to move the rally to Copley Square - about a mile away. When the more militant sponsors refused - the Liberals pulled out and did not come. The International Socialist Organization endorsed the demonstration, but none of them were seen at the rally. WWP was not at the rally at all.
There were no American flags at the counter rally.
At the bandstand the Alt Right had dozens and dozens of American flags along with a Japanese Rising Sun flag, a Nazi looking flag, a Don't Treat on Me flag, an Italian fascist flag with SPQR, and a Betsy Ross circle star flag. In the early hours the Alt Right had about 300 people but eventually grew to 400 or so. A number of them had shields and heavy wooden sticks. Stickman is one of their mascots.
There were numerous times when the Alt Right were taunting on their megaphone and the Antifa people with bullhorns taunted back. The Alt Right shouted out "Commie Fags!" The Antifa and Leftists shouted "Fuck You." Husbands and wives with children between them strolled by on the park's walkway. Lots of tourists took pictures with their phones.
One Alt Righter crossed over the walkway and got into a fight with an Antifa and they both were arrested. Latter there was another incident were a fight broke out but I'm not sure if either fighter was taken away. The police had about a dozen people on the line separating the crowds and civilians were walking along the pathway between the two groups. The bandstand where the Alt Right were gathered is about 50 yards back from the walkway, and the Antifa crowd was mostly at the top of the hill while the Black Block were in the middle of the hill and down at the walkway taunting the Alt Righters facing them.
At one point a line of about ten motorcycle police officers arrived at the far side of the bandstand, but they left after five or ten minutes. Others said there where a number of cops further away with lots of plastic handcuffs on their belts. Four bicycle cops were to the left of the Antifa demo half way up the hill.
Some of the signs the Antifa carried were: "Liberty and Justice for All," "No In the name of Humanity we refuse to accept fascism," "Punching Richard Spencer," "Trump is a Fucking Moron," "Racist Get the Fuck Out of Boston."
Some of the chants from the Antifa crowd were "The people united will never be defeated," "No war but class war," "Nazis Out," and as a reply to some taunt from the Rightists "Your Shit's Weak," and because the Antifa crowd sounded louder than the Alt Right and there were about three bullhorns in the crowd - "Buy a better bullhorn." The Rightists were hard to hear but had lots to say about Communism and denounced Black Lives Matter. The Alt Rightist demo security were in battle fatigues and seemed to have some kind of body armor on. Most of the time the police were facing the Antifa side, but occasionally they pushed back the thirty or so Rightists who came to the walkway to taunt the Antifa on the other side.
Someone pointed out that the Rightists did not have one female speaker over the course of three hours. Sometimes when their speakers were talking the Alt Right crowd turned around and look toward the confrontations near the walkway. When the Antifa crowd had speakers at the top of the hill - the same thing happened as the crowd turned around and watched what was happening below. Two Alt Right men came up the to the hill from a different direction, one in a maroon tri-corner hat with gilt edging and odd beige suit, and as they approached a few people confronted them and told them to leave. A couple of marshals confronted him, and one marshall came in with the police in tow and they told the Rightist to go back to their side.
At one o'clock the lead organizers of the Antifa crowd announced that the marshals and many people would be leaving. Almost all of the crowd stayed. One or two of the marshals took off their bright reflective vests and stayed at the demonstration. The Leftist crowd was about 250 people, perhaps half of them women.
At about 2:45 the Alt Right ended their rally at the bandstand and lined up thirty feet away from the walkway to face the Antifa crowd and chant "USA." The Antifa crowd chanted "America Was Never Great." The Alt Right looked to be about 400 or 500 people - twice as many as the Leftists.
At that point some wondered if there would be a surge from the Rightist and they would sweep past the police - but they mostly marched off in a different direction and had said they were going to walk the Freedom Trail, a foot tour of significant Boston Revolutionary sites. Perhaps the motorcycle and bike police were to escort the Alt Right throught the streets.. About a dozen Rightists stood behind the police and continued to hurl insults as the Antifa crowd returned the taunts.
At about 3:10pm the Antifa crowd dispersed. The Alt Right held a rally in Boston and they were confronted by organized Leftist determined to oppose them.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
By Mark Gruenberg
Among the companies the Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) identifies as this year’s Dirty Dozen are a Boston contractor whose indifference to safety led to the deaths of two workers in a trench collapse and a Lansing, Illinois, tanker cleaning service that did nothing to prevent fumes from filling a tank car and killing an employee.
COSH, is a coalition of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others that advocates for worker health and safety. National COSH released its report in advance of Workers Memorial Day, this past April 28, unveiling it at a press conference April 26.
At the press conference, Jordan Barab, a deputy assistant OSHA director during the Obama administration, said “The Dirty Dozen shows the need for more enforcement” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and by federally approved state OSHAs.
Dedicated TCS, an Illinois-based tank cleaning firm made the list because it did not check the air quality in a rail tank car located in New Orleans before the work began. As a result, Armond Stack died and his two co-workers almost did.
The three lacked harnesses, and the confined space lacked oxygen, the New Orleans coroner said. OSHA proposed fining Dedicated TCS $226,310. The firm had prior repeated confined space violations in other locations, including in Lansing and Channahon, Illinois.
The Boston trench collapse occurred when a nearby water main broke, throwing dirt, mud, gravel and water on top of trench diggers Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks.
Mattocks and Higgins were killed because their employer, Atlantic Drain, did not follow basic safety rules. The Boston district attorney indicted both the firm and its owner on two counts of manslaughter and other charges.
Furthermore, the Boston City Council passed an ordinance barring construction firms with a history of serious and repeated OSHA violations – like Atlantic Drain – from getting city permits. Now the state senate is considering similar legislation. And the city council is considering amending a 200-year-old law that now limits fines in such cases to $1,000. The bill under consideration would raise fines to $250,000.
Along with Atlantic Drain and Dedicated TCS, the Dirty Dozen include:
California Cartage of Long Beach, California: Because the company did not provide machine safeguards, and because there were faulty brakes on its trucks, driver William Vasquez was killed.
Speakers at the COSH press conference said that the firm treats its drivers as “independent contractors” unprotected by workplace laws, including labor laws.
Dollar General in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The Dirty Dozen report calls all the chain’s stores “a fire disaster waiting to happen” because exits were blocked. OSHA cited the chain more than 100 times and fined it more than $1 million combined for that violation alone in its stores nationwide.
Environmental Enterprises, Inc., of Spring Grove, Ohio, where a chemical explosion killed employee Zachary Henzerling. An OSHA report describes the company as having a “complete disregard for employees’ safety.” The firm was indicted for involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.
Fuyao Glass America of Dayton, Ohio. The firm operates the world’s largest auto glass plant but doesn’t provide its workers with gloves. Workers were exposed to broken glass and risked amputation. OSHA cited it for 23 serious violations.
The Nissan USA auto plant in Franklin, Tennessee: Four workers died over a four-year period. Safety violations are rampant, one speaker at the press conference said, because workers fear losing their jobs if they complain, despite the fact that federal law bans retaliation against whistleblowers. OSHA has fined Nissan $99,000.
The Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant in Greeley, Colorado: One worker died and another lost fingers in a machine “because management did nothing” to address amputation risk, the Dirty Dozen report says. Workers are also exposed to toxic ammonia.
PrimeFlight of Nashville, Tennessee exposes its workers to blood-borne pathogens. OSHA said PrimeFlight had 22 violations in the last three years. Conditions there are “likely to cause death or serious harm.”
TransAm Trucking of Olathe, Kansas: In minus 37 degree weather, after reporting that his cab had frozen brakes and receiving no help, driver Alphonse Maddin left the vehicle on the side of a road to seek assistance. OSHA and its appeals board ruled for him after TransAm fired him for protecting his own life. The case went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Every member of that court upheld OSHA’s ruling except Judge Neil Gorsuch, the newest U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Valley Garlic and X-Treme AG of California: Four migrant workers died in the crash of an illegal transport van. Following a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor, the contractor was enjoined from transporting agricultural workers.
The Dirty Dozen report also cites one foreign firm: the South Korean computer/phone chip maker Samsung.
The report says that more than 200 Samsung workers became seriously ill, and 76 died, from fumes released while making the chips. The firm also retaliates by a secret plan to “dominate employees” and “punish leaders,” the report says. Samsung’s CEO is now awaiting trial in South Korea’s wide-ranging presidential bribery scandal.
When: Saturday, May 6, 2017, 8:45 am to 5:00 pm Where: MIT • 50 Vassar St. • room 34-101 • Cambridge Room 34-101, 50 Vassar St., Cambridge, MA 02139
Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action.
Responding to the continuing risk of nuclear war or accident, this conference is intended to advocate and organize toward reducing the danger of nuclear war. It is not an academic conference, but rather one that addresses the political and economic realities of the new Trump administration, and attempts to stimulate and inform the kinds of social movement needed to change national policy. This year we mark the 50thanniversary of MLK Jr.’s historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church.
8:45 am. Registration and Coffee
9:15 am. Welcome from City of Cambridge: Mayor Denise Simmons
9:30 am. Program for the Day: Prof. Jonathan King (MIT, Mass. Peace Action)
9:45 am. Session I. The Need for Nuclear Disarmament
Costs and Profits from Nuclear Weapons Manufacture - William Hartung (Center for International Policy)
Reasons to Reject the Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons Escalation- Joseph Cirincione(Ploughshares Fund)
Nuclear Weapons Undermine Democracy - Prof. Elaine Scarry (Harvard University)
10:45 am. II. Destabilizing Factors
Chair: Hon. John Tierney (former US Representative, Council for a Livable World)
Dangers of Hair Trigger Alert - Lisbeth Gronlund (Union of Concerned Scientists).
Nuclear Modernization vs. National Security – Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT, Council for a Livable World)
Accidents and Unexpected events – Prof. Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute)
12:00 pm. Lunch Workshops (Listed below)
2:00 pm. Session III. Economic and Social Consequences of Excessive Weapons Spending
Chair: Prof. Melissa Nobles (MIT):
Build Housing Not Bombs - Rev. Paul Robeson Ford (Union Baptist Church) Education as a National Priority - Barbara Madeloni (Mass. Teachers Association) Invest in Minds Not Missiles - Prof. Jonathan King (MIT) Build Subways Not Submarines - Fred Salvucci (former Mass. Secretary of Transportation)
3:00 pm. Session IV. Current Prospects for Progress
Chair: Hon. John Tierney (former US Representative, Council for a Livable World)
Congressional Steps Toward Nuclear Disarmament – U. S. Representative Barbara Lee Maintaining the Iran Nuclear Agreement – Ernest Moniz, CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative; former U.S. Secretary of Energy
4:15 pm. Session V: Organizing to Reduce the Dangers
Chair: Jim Anderson (Peace Action New York State);
Divesting from Nuclear Weapons Investments - Susi Snyder (Don’t Bank on the Bomb) Taxpayers Information and Transparency Acts – State Reps. Denise Provost/Mike Connolly Mobilizing the Scientific Community – Prof. Max Tegmark (MIT) A National Nuclear Disarmament Organizing Network 2017 -2018 – Program Committee.
5:00 pm. Adjourn. Conference Workshops (12:00 – 2:00 pm):
a) Campus Organizing - Chair: Kate Alexander (Peace Action, NY State); Caitlin Forbes (Mass. Peace Action); Remy Pontes (Brandeis Peace Action); Haleigh Copley-Cunningham (Peace Action Chapter at Tufts), Lucas Perry (Don’t Bank on the Bomb, Future of Life Institute); Matthew Hahm (Boston College Peace Action); Luisa Kenausis (MIT Nuclear Weapons Matter).
b) Bringing nuclear weapons into physics and history course curricula - Chair: Frank Davis (past President of TERC); Gary Goldstein (Tufts University); Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT); Prof. Vincent Intondi(Montgomery College); Ray Matsumiya (Oleander/Hiroshima Peace Initiative).
c) Dangerous Conflicts - Chair, Erica Fein (WAND); Jim Walsh (MIT Security Studies program); John Tierney (former US Representative; Council for a Livable World); Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT).
d) Municipal and State Initiatives - Chair Cole Harrison (Mass. Peace Action): Denise Provost (Mass State Legislature); Councilor Dennis Carlone (Cambridge City Council); Jared Hicks (Our Revolution Massachusetts); Prof. Ceasar McDowell (MIT Urban Studies).
e) Peace with Justice: People’s Budget and Related Campaigns to Shift Federal budget Priorities – Chair, Andrea Miller (People Demanding Action); Mike Connolly (Mass State Legislature); Paul Shannon(AFSC); Madelyn Hoffman (NJPA); Richard Krushnic (Mass Peoples Budget Campaign); Arne Alpert(New Hampshire AFSC).
f) Reducing Nuclear Weapons through Treaties and Negotiation – Chair, Nazli Choucri (MIT), Kevin Martin (national Peace Action), Shelagh Foreman (Mass. Peace Action); Michel DeGraff (MIT Haiti Project).
g) Strengthening the Connection between Averting Climate Change and Averting Nuclear War – Chair,Frank Von Hippel (Princeton University); Rosalie Anders (Mass. Peace Action); Josué Lopez (Fossil Free MIT).
h) Working with Communities of Faith - Chair, Thea Keith-Lucas (MIT Radius); Rev. Herb Taylor(Harvard Epworth Methodist Church); Pat Ferrone (Pax Christi Massachusetts); Rev. Paul Robeson Ford(Union Baptist Church).
More Info on Conference Participants
Program Committee: Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT, Council for a Livable World), Joseph Gerson (American Friends Service Committee), Subrata Ghoshroy (MIT), Prof. Gary Goldstein (Tufts University), Cole Harrison (Mass. Peace Action), Jonathan King (MIT and Mass. Peace Action), Guntram Mueller (Mass. Peace Action), State Rep. Denise Provost, John Ratliff (Mass. Peace Action, Mass Senior Action), Prof. Elaine Scarry (Harvard University), Prof. Max Tegmark (MIT, Future of Life Institute), Patricia Weinmann (MIT Radius).
Sponsored by MIT Radius (the former Technology and Culture Forum), Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, American Friends Service Committee, and the Future of Life
InstituteRegistration (includes lunch): $12.00 through May 1, $15.00 after. Students and low income: $5.00 through May 1, $8.00 after. If this is a hardship, email@example.com for waiver. Register online, or mail check payable to "Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund" to 11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138 and write "MIT Conference" on memo line. For information call 617-354-2169or email firstname.lastname@example.org; MIT community members may also contact Radius.