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November 2011
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Dear Reader,

This issue of Green Politics is dedicated to the women and men fighting for economic justice in this country and throughout the world by means of occupations, demonstrations, sit-ins and all forms of resistance.

Let us know what is happening in your area, through pictures or comments on what has been called "the American Autumn."

You can reach us at http://www. greenparty.org/newsletter/contact_us.php.

In solidarity
The Print Collective

Phil Ardery, Jr
Barbara Chicherio
Devin Ceartas
Elizabeth Fattah
Wes Wagar

Musings on Occupations

By Elizabeth Fattah

“Stop the Machine” in Washington DC was planned to kick off a sustained occupation and nonviolent civil resistance to corporatism and militarism. This had been building for months with many in the progressive community wondering if it could be sustained. It has been maintained and became one of the initiators for the many occupations that are occurring now. Happenings in the Arab world and Europe, especially Greece and Spain, along with past actions in the US -- vigils, demonstrations, and sit-ins, combined with the movement in Wisconsin where people occupied the capitol in Madison – all have led to this moment.

"We the Corporations…"
"Occupy" marchers in D.C., parading with a pseudo-parchment banner. It depicts the US Constitution as interpreted by the 1% to ensure their privileges now challenged by the 99%. Photo by Elizabeth Fattah.

In visiting the occupation sites, one is struck by the constant discussion groups organized in advance or spontaneously as people mingle forming a group solidarity to just being there. Numerous young people are discussing alternatives to our present system and lamenting how unjust and corrupt the political system has become. In places where the occupations encamp, the homeless are there too as an indictment of the present economic system.

The Wall Street occupiers gained a reprieve from a recent crackdown on their site. What stopped Mayor Bloomberg from evicting them was solidarity from the unions and big-name entertainers petitioning him along with thousands of others. Unfortunately, some cities don’t have the cachet of New York City. Occupy sites have been shut down and the occupiers harassed. As this is being written, Oakland and San Francisco have been threatened with closure.

To the complaint of the mainstream press that the occupiers are unable to articulate what they want, here is part of a statement from Occupy Wall Street. The following is taken from the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City that was adopted on 30 September.

“…As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known…”

The Declaration goes on to indict corporations for joblessness, homelessness, environmental destruction and imperialism. The declaration describes the damage done by the capitalist system here and in the rest of the world.

Regardless of when or if these occupations end, this is a historic moment that all of us need to embrace.

Targeting Monsanto on World Food Day

Several dozen activists fighting Monsanto's corporate program to force GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on everyone who eats food, as well as the corporation's attempt to destroy small farmers in the US and across the globe, rallied at Monsanto's St. Louis world headquarters on the afternoon of October 16. Soon they were joined by a couple of carloads from Occupy St. Louis.

Barbara Chichero and Don Fitz chronicled the day's events in this photo essay.

Corporations' Control of Human Food Puts Future Generations at Risk

The October 16 demonstrators in St. Louis and elsewhere have signaled popular opposition to the corporations, enabled by Washington, who intend to control human food. Monsanto, along with ADM, Cargill, Dow, etc., threaten the future for humans and for life on earth generally.

Organic Consumers Association links to a thorough report, researched and written by Gar Smith for Agribusiness Action Initiatives, explaining the role these corporations play in fueling climate change. For more on "A Harvest of Heat," click here.

The might of government, especially the U.S. government, forces the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) foods to ever-increasing numbers of people worldwide. The Center for Food Safety collaborated in a report documenting the toxicity of GE foods and exposing government and corporate hypocrisy when it comes to GE safety and patent protection: "When industry wants to avoid risk assessment and issues of liability, the argument used is that the genetically engineered organism is ‘substantially equivalent’ to the non-engineered parent. However, when industry wants property rights, the same GMO becomes ‘novel’ or substantially inequivalent to the parent organism." Read "The GMO Emperor Has No Clothes".

In contrast to their counterparts in Washington, national governments in several European Union countries have outlawed the introduction of GE crops on a case-by-case basis. Monsanto is fighting thpse bans in EU courts, and in September won a verdict overturning a French ban on Monsanto's GE maize. For a news account, click here.

Midwest Rising Convergence

Activists took to St. Louis streets many weeks prior to October 16's World Food Day demonstrations. The occasion was the four-day Midwest Rising Convergence, a follow-on to 2010's U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.

Midwest Rising demonstrators march to and protest at the corporate headquarters of Peabody Energy in St. Louis. Peabody Energy is self-described as "the world's largest private-sector coal company." Photos by Barbara Chicherio and Don Fitz.

Writing for Counterpunch, Linda Greene reported that the Convergence "wasn't an ordinary conference." The participants' multiple direct actions during their four days together highlighted the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social justice issues.

Read Greene's report here.

Ride Till the End

By Elizabeth Fattah

As the anniversary of 10 years in Afghanistan approached, a group of Afghan veterans along with their supporters began a bicycle tour of the US, carrying a message of non-violence and ending wars. Their group “Ride Till the End” also is collecting bicycles to send as a peace offering to the people of Afghanistan.

I recently met the group in Wayne, Pennsylvania where they played blue grass music and discussed their tour. I talked with Jacob George, who has been instrumental in forming the group.

According to Jacob, he grew up on the side of a mountain in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. He is from a family of farmers raising mainly chickens. He did not have the financial resources to go to college. After high school, since the only jobs in the nearest town were in poultry processing factories, the military looked like an attractive option. He became a paratrooper in Afghanistan and had 3 tours of duty.

Coming back to civilian life is a surreal experience for most veterans, and Jacob George was no exception. At the beginning, he suppressed his Afghan war experiences. It wasn’t until he took a cultural anthropology course that his professor encouraged him to write down his experiences, which he did in the form of poetry.

After re-evaluating his Afghanistan experiences, he persuaded his brother not to go. His brother went AWOL, and, according to Jacob, his family “freaked out” about this. Eventually, his brother received a general discharge. The army did not want the anti-war publicity surrounding the case to escalate. Jacob’s family finally came around to his way of thinking, but it did put a strain on their relationship.

Jacob has biked throughout the south with his anti-war message along with the idea of collecting bikes for Afghans. I asked him how he was received. He said, “People agreed with our message and we need to bring that message to the South. That is how change is made.”

Jacob has reconnected to Afghanistan not through war but in a positive way through the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. He is hoping that what his is doing now in his bicycle sojourn will inspire other Afghan vets and non-vets to join the tour.

To connect with the tour go to www.operationawareness.org.

Europe's Imperial Takeover in Libya

The NATO assault on Libya that forced Muammar Qaddafi out of Tripoli corrupted the legacy of 2011's Arab Spring. Here are two articles on Europe's imperialist oil grab, which would have failed without the armaments and logistical support of the United States.

Jeff Mackler, writing for Socialist Action, provides the in-depth reporting never delivered by U.S. mainstream media during or after the months-long assault on Libya. Mackler notes sadly, "In contrast to the massive mobilizations during the Arab Spring in North Africa that forced the ouster of hated dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan people are saddled with an even greater evil—direct neo-colonial intervention into their country’s affairs." Read Mackler's entire article here.

Yoichi Shimatsu sheds light on the role of racism in the ouster and eventual mob execution of Qaddafi, who sought union for Libya with black Africa, opposing an annexation and exploitation by white Europe under the guise of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposed super-regional "Mediterranean Union." Read Shimatsu's article for New America Media here.

A Music Video

When was the last time you heard a peace song on the radio? People like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez would never be heard today because the radio stations are mostly owned by corporations like Clear Channel and the peace songs of today never make it onto the play lists.

Pat Scanlon has written a peace song, and Pat has told Green Politics, "It is up to each and every one of us to distribute this music video far and wide. … The song is totally financed by Veterans For Peace chapters, individuals, national and local peace groups." So…here's the video.

Synthesis/Regeneration is produced in St. Louis and sent to members of the Greens/Green Party USA. S/R No. 57 is titled “Empire Decaying.”.

Article titles in S/R No. 57 include “Fukushima Is Worse than Chernobyl," "Consumerism in the USA: A Nation of Junkies?” and "Saving the Middle Class from Itself: A Green Look at the Wisconsin Spring."

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Blocking the Keystone Pipeline

James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was one of more than 500 demonstrators arrested at the late summer action at the White House calling on President Barack Obama to withhold approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would cross six US states to deliver the product of Canadian tar sands to US refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.

Before his arrest, Hansen told fellow protestors, "If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm that the President was just green-washing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction." Opposition to Keystone has become a rallying point in several of the "Occupy" assemblies.

To read about the summer White House protests and Hansen's arrest, click here.

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