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Posted: February 24th, 2014 By BWM
Photo: Twitter @EcoFemErica

Photo: Twitter @EcoFemErica

The Earth First! Newswire has reported that this morning protesters locked down Florida Power and Light after they have proposed a power plant near a Seminole Reservation. In Juno, FL over 80 activists showed up to protest, and 5 locked their necks together and blocked the entrance to the building, stalling operations at one of the largest power corporations in the state.

“This proposal is an act of environmental racism against indigenous people and an attack on the Everglades. If we stand by and do nothing, we are also complicit in this injustice,” says Christian Minaya of Everglades Earth First!, a group based in Palm Beach County. (Source, Earth First! Newswire)

The proposed plant would threaten panther habitat, the lives of those living on the reserve, as well as land and water quality. Further the source of power for the plant will utilize the fracking technique, which is highly controversial and irresponsible for the environment as well as the communities with proximity to the sites.

“This FPL proposal would be one of the biggest plants in the country. There’s a good chance that the gas could come from poisoning the water around where I live,” said a protestor named Ryan, from New York, where there is a push for more gas wells in the Marcellus Shale region. (Source, Earth First! Newswire)

Florida Power and Light Protest - Dancing Activists  (Source, Earth First! Newswire)
UPDATES From Earth First! Newswire
For more info please visit http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2014/02/24/breaking-earth-first-disrupts-florida-power-and-light-company/

Update 1:20 PM —  All locked-down protesters have been cut out and arrested. We don’t know yet what they are being charged with, but we expect they will need support.
Support our friends who have put their bodies on the line!
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Update 1:00 PM — First person has been cut out of the lock-down and is now in police custody.

Update 12:20 PM — Sheriff Emergency Force Team has arrived on site.  Locked-down individuals have been told that if they do not unlock they will be charged with trespassing and resisting arrest nonviolently.

Posted: February 17th, 2014 By BWM

G20 Riot Police - 2010
Joel Bitar Sentenced to 19 Months and 17 Days in Jail for Participating in Toronto G20 Protest

Joel Bitar, an American present for the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010 was sentenced on Thursday February 13 to 20 months in prison for his alleged role in the destruction of police cars, and other property destruction during the protesting on the Saturday of the weekend. During his sentencing, Joel read the following statement, which was met with applause after he completed it.

Here is his statement:

Hello,

I have not been able to speak much since my arrest last February so I appreciate the opportunity to make a statement today. I only plan on taking a small amount of your time. At the end of my statement I am going to to issue an apology to some of the individuals who were affected by my actions. It is my hope that this statement better contextualizes the choices I’ve made that have led me to this courtroom.

I came to Toronto four years ago for many of the same reasons as the tens of thousands of other people who marched on the streets that day. These are many of the same reasons why hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, in Genoa against the G8, in Quebec City against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in Gothenburg against the EU summit, in Rostock against the G8 and in Pittsburgh against the G20. They are many of the same reasons why people are now protesting in the streets of New York, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain. It is only really possible to understand the events that took place in Toronto in the context of the global movement against neoliberalism and the corporatization of the planet. It is my belief that this movement is best explained as an individual and collective response to various forms of domination and exploitation. My politics are inseparable from my own life experiences, which I would like to briefly speak about now.

I grew up in an environment where I had access to many of the things required for conventional success. I had – and have – an extremely loving family, I played tennis competitively and had a working-class, but generally supportive upbringing. I graduated from high school with honors and then got my bachelors degree in Economics from the City University of New York. My plan in college was to work on Wall Street with the goal of making a lot of money. That goal was widely reinforced and encouraged by society at large. Trying to get rich and focusing on my own personal comforts seemed right when everyone else was chasing the same thing. However, two events occurred during this time that fundamentally changed the way I now see the world.

The first event was the global financial crisis of 2008. During this time, banks that engaged in predatory lending practices were given billions of dollars to keep their businesses afloat while millions of people lost their homes. It was shocking how closely government officials who once worked on Wall St. collaborated with the financial sector to organize the bailout. It seemed profoundly unjust to me that those who precipitated the crisis were rewarded, while masses of people were literally tossed to the street. I came to the conclusion that Wall Street’s obsession with profit comes at the expense and detriment of the majority.

The second event took place in December, 2008, when Israel launched an invasion into the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of 800 civilians (many of whom were women and children). This destruction was carried out with weapons manufactured by U.S. Corporations and was paid for with U.S. taxpayer money. During this invasion, banned weapons like White Phosphorous (made in the U.S.) were fired at Palestinian schools and hospitals in contravention of international humanitarian law. I saw images of innocent children killed by missiles, tank shells and bullets. At the same time many of these people suffered, weapons manufacturers and government officials profited from their obliteration.

From these two events I developed an opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died in these wars while corporations like Halliburton and Lockheed Martin have secured billions of dollars in government contracts. George Bush erected a worldwide torture regime, that Obama has only expanded, and has since been immune to any prosecution for his crimes. It is evident that those who commit crimes at the top levels are government are immunized while someone like Chelsea Manning, who revealed the extent of government criminality, is banished to a cage for decades. It is apparent to people, all throughout the world, that the real motivations for these wars is rooted in the economic interest of a few and that masses of innocent people have needlessly suffered as a result.

This led me to see more and more about the world that I could not unsee, including how the continued exploitation of the environment is connected to the same economic interests mentioned above. One notoriously brutal example of environmental exploitation is happening here in Canada at this moment. In Alberta, pristine boreal forestland the size of Florida has been turned into a toxic wasteland for the extraction of oil. James Hansen, a professor of climatology at Columbia University believes that the tar sand project is “game over for the climate.” He says: “If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities.” It should not be acceptable to us that private corporations and western governments regularly exploit natural resources for profit while simultaneously destroying the environment and injecting pollutants into our air and water.

Financial crises, war and environmental degradation share a common thread. They are born of the prevailing economic system, which is only interested in maximizing profit and increasing growth. This system is predicated on maintaining vast levels of inequality, where a small number of people have incredible amounts of wealth while the masses are locked in poverty. A recent report published by Oxfam International states that the 85 richest people possess the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people combined. Rather than providing wealth and opportunity, or having a trickle-down effect, the current system enriches the few at the expense of the many. This is not a particularly radical analysis, this is the only rational interpretation of how society is structured. Even such a mainstream figure as the Pope recently said: “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.” Rather than addressing these structural causes, Western governments do everything they can to foster the status quo that leads to the problems.

The current situation in the world is urgent and much needs to be done. I truly believe we can build a new system that puts human need and the needs of the environment ahead of the interests of business. At some point, we need to decide if profit, innovation and economic growth are more important than the long-term sustainability and well-being of our species and planet. I understand that this proposition might not sound so good to someone who is financially benefiting from the current system but we are running out of time. We have enough resources to make sure every person on this planet has health care, food, an education and a place to live. There is no reason why people should be homeless and begging on the streets while food is thrown away en masse and foreclosed houses remain empty. There is no reason why such massive levels of inequality should persist in the modern age. These systems are antiquated and must be fundamentally transformed.

It was not, and has never been, my intention to scare or hurt anyone. I want to build a world based on the values of love, compassion and understanding; not fear and intimidation. I take responsibility for my actions and apologize to anyone who felt fear as a result of them. Before closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my family, friends and supporters. This process has taken an incredible toll on myself and especially my loved ones. It means the world that they have stood by me through it all.

Thank You

Joel Bitar

http://supportjoel.com/

++++++++++

G8 G20 Protests - 2010
Kevin Chianella, 21, Receives The Only Penitentiary Sentence Of All G20 Protesters To Face Trial


Kevin Chianella received a 2 year prison sentence today for his participation in the G20 protests in Toronto in 2010. Chianella, 18 at the time, got a heftier sentence because he attacked a police cruiser driven by Staff Sgt. Graham Queen with a canvas bag full of rocks, which was also photographed by a newspaper reporter at the scene. He is also stated to have fuelled and helped sustain the fire that was set upon another police vehicle. Chianella, from Queens, N.Y., was supported in court by his family, among them, his 90-year-old grandmother who raised him.

His statement to the court has not been transcribed yet. This article will update with it when it has been.

—–

Neither Joel nor Kevin have mailing addresses yet. The Guelph Anarchist Black Cross has extensive coverage of the G20 and the legal outcome for protesters.   Stay up to date by checking back often!

Posted: January 6th, 2014 By BWM


Captive Bosses At Goodyear Factory in France (Photo: Associated Press)The Guardian and other news sources are reporting that workers at a French Goodyear Tyre plant are holding who of their executive bosses hostage. After being described as “lazy and overpaid” by an American tycoon, Staff at the doomed Goodyear tyre factory in Amiens, northern France, have kidnapped production manager Michel Dheilly and Human Resources director Bernard Glesser.[1]

The executives arrived to have a meeting with union representatives on Monday morning, but were met by 200 workers who barricaded them into a meeting room with a tractor tyre “for the foreseeable future.” The workers have allowed the executives to keep their phones and are giving them water, but have made it clear that they have no intention of leaving the building, and have vowed to bring mattresses and sleep on site until things are resolved.[2]

The action today is in response to an American Headquarters decision to close the factory, costing over 1000 people to lose their full time employment. From the Daily Mail, outlining an exchange with the chairman of Titan International, who was written a letter asking him if he’d consider taking over the struggling plant:

Mr Taylor wrote in a letter: ‘I have visited the factory several times. The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. ‘They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three hours and work for three. I told the French union workers this to their faces. They told me that’s the French way!’ [3] He added: “You can keep your so called ‘workers’.”[4]

Well, it looks like the “French way” also includes taking your executives hostage until you treat them fairly… like in 2009, the Chief Executive Officer and Human Resources Director of Sony France were held captive by workers demanding better severance packages. Or in 2008 when the English boss of a car-parts factory in eastern France was held for 48 hours in his office, and the altercation at an ice-cream factory where police stormed in to free a manager who had been held hostage by workers angry over job cuts. (At least 14 staff were injured trying to stop police releasing him.) [5] For a bunch of supposedly lazy people, they sure seem willing to fight for their jobs, and for fair treatment.

Interested in reading more about this? Check out articles written about it at:
The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Independent

For the story about previous French boss-nappings, check out this article on The Guardian Website from 2009.

Posted: September 17th, 2012 By BWM

Taken from Bay View

by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland – Prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have announced a push to end all hostilities between racial groups within California’s prisons and jails. The handwritten announcement was sent to prison advocacy organizations. It is signed by several prisoners, identifying themselves as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. [Their statement follows this one.]
The Attica rebellion in upstate New York Sept. 9-13, 1971, saw thousands of prisoners take over the prison, protesting intolerable conditions and infuriated by the assassination of George Jackson at San Quentin on Aug. 21, 1971. The secret of their unprecedented strength was their multi-racial solidarity. Here, Black and white prisoners sit on a wall during a meeting called by the organizers.

The Short Corridor refers to a section of Pelican Bay Prison’s notorious Security Housing Unit (SHU). Pelican Bay’s SHU was the point of origin for last year’s hunger strikes which rocked California’s prison system, at one point including the participation of nearly 12,000 prisoners in over 11 prisons throughout the state.

The statement calls for the cessation of all hostilities between groups to commence Oct. 10, 2012, in all California prisons and county jails. “This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end,” the statement says.

It also calls on prisoners throughout the state to set aside their differences and use diplomatic means to settle their disputes. The Short Corridor Collective states, “If personal issues arise between individuals, people need to do all they can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle such disputes; do not allow personal, individual issues to escalate into racial group issues.”

“The statement calls for the cessation of all hostilities between groups to commence Oct. 10, 2012, in all California prisons and county jails. “This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end,” the statement says.” 

In the past, California prisoners have attempted to collaborate with the Department of Corrections to bring an end to the hostilities, but CDCR has been largely unresponsive to prisoners’ requests. The statement warns prisoners that they expect prison officials to attempt to undermine this agreement.

Occupy San Quentin on Feb. 20, 2012, a major demonstration in support of prisoners, united people across race, class, age and gender dividing lines. – Photo: Alex Darocy, Indybay“My long-time experience in urban peace issues, gang truces, prevention and intervention is that when gang leaders and prisoners take full stock of the violence and how they can contribute to the peace, such peace will be strong, lasting and deep. I honor this effort as expressed in this statement,” says Luis J. Rodriguez, renowned violence intervention worker and award-winning author of “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: August 14th, 2012 By BWM

Here is another great discussion that we were able to film at the Law & Disorder conference in Portland this past April. In this video, Decolonize PDX discusses why they felt forming was so necessary, what Decolonize  PDX means to the collective, occupy and people of color, and prison abolition. If this video interest you, we urge you to pass it around to friends and family!

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