Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012-05-31 "Republicans Offer New Objection To Funding Community Center Housing Communist Newspaper" by Christine Stuart and Hugh McQuaid
 Two Republican lawmakers were sounding the alarm again Thursday over funding the state Bond Commission is set to approve for an organization with ties to the Communist Party.
Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen and Rep. Sean Williams of Watertown said they are concerned about the activities housed in the New Haven Peoples Center and don’t believe the state should be borrowing $300,000 to renovate the community center. Their argument Thursday focused on the People’s World, a newspaper with a Marxist editorial mission.
According to the paper’s mission statement the media outlet “is partisan to the working class, people of color, women, young people, seniors, LGBT community, to international solidarity; to popularize the ideas of Marxism and Bill of Rights socialism.”
“I have every confidence that the people who run this organization are good and decent people,” Williams said at a Capitol press conference. “They have every right to have whatever political beliefs they have, just as we all do as Americans…but that does not entitle them to be the recipients of tax dollars to prop up those political activities.”
“It is the right of the people publishing this newspaper to publish this newspaper and to hold their views, but in my view it’s not appropriate for the taxpayers of Connecticut to be providing a $300,000 grant to an organization which is clearly political in nature,” Roraback said.
He said he would have the same objections is the newspaper had a Republican or free market slant to its news.
“We should not be in the business of funneling bond dollars to organizations which promote partisanship,” he said especially at a time when state resources are scarce.
The New Haven project was flagged as questionable by Mary Plaskonka, a former state employee who emailed members of the state Bond Commission to ask why they would be giving money to an organization which operates on a part-time basis and hasn’t filed a 990 tax form with the IRS since 1999. It was pulled from the April 27 agenda after questions were raised but it was placed back on for Monday’s meeting.
Sen. Toni Harp of New Haven, who requested the money for the center, said she doesn’t believe the state Bond Commission typically looks at who rents or is housed in a building that receives funding.
“I think if they’re opposed to it, they can be opposed to it,” Harp said. “It’s a historic building in my district that opens its doors up to young people and other groups in our community.”
Al Marder, one of the founding members of the People’s Center which is operated by the Progressive Education and Research Associates, is a World War II veteran, Harp said.
“I would have Al Marder stand up to anyone,” she added. Marder is a member of the Communist Party USA.
She said the two Republican lawmakers are probably too young to remember the Cold War and the fear of communism. “They weren’t even alive during those days,” she said. “It’s just political gamesmanship and frankly I find it appalling.”
As for the newspaper argument, Harp said it has the right to freedom of speech where it rents. She said the organization doesn’t endorse political candidates.
“It’s really not some kind communist plot to take over Connecticut,” she said.
Roraback and Williams called on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to have the funding removed from the agenda.
However, Malloy’s Senior Adviser Roy Occhiogrosso said that would start the state down a dangerous path. He said examining the past or present political leanings of every organization the state gives money to raises civil liberty and First Amendment concerns.
“It’s pretty clear they’re trying to score political points but they’re using a playbook from 1955 and they’re not gaining much traction,” he said.
Occhiogrosso said every project needs to be scrutinized based on its merits and its impact on the community. He said the People’s Center is a good project in its totality.
“Good things go on in that building and the administration thinks they should continue,” he said.
2012-05-31 "White Supremacist Steve Smith Elected to Pennsylvania County GOP Committee" by Michael Allen
Republicans in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania [population 320,000] have elected Steve Smith, a white supremacist, with close ties to neo-Nazi groups, to the county’s GOP Committee.
The elections took place in late April and were certified by the GOP committee two weeks ago. Smith notified supporters of his victory last week by posting a message to the online forum WhiteNewsNow.com.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Smith’s participation with known skinhead organizations like Keystone State Skinheads, [now Keystone United] which he co-founded in 2001
In March 2003, he and two other KSS members were arrested in Scranton for beating up Antoni Williams, a black man, using stones and chunks of pavement. Smith pleaded guilty to terrorist threats and ethnic intimidation and received a 60-day sentence and probation.
The news on the site generated this response from a fellow reader: "CONGRATULATIONS, SIR! This may seem like just a small step now, but this is how we are taking our nation back and it's how we will secure a future for our people. Everyone needs to look to Steve's example. He's a true patriot!"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2012-05-30 "Economic snapshot | Jobs Wages and Living Standards: ‘Missing workers’ mean the unemployment rate is understating weakness in the job market" by Heidi Shierholz

2012-05-30 "Economic snapshot | Jobs Wages and Living Standards: ‘Missing workers’ mean the unemployment rate is understating weakness in the job market" by Heidi Shierholz
The labor force participation rate (the share of working-age people who either have a job or are jobless but actively seeking work) has dropped by more than two percentage points since the start of the Great Recession in Dec. 2007. According to a recent EPI analysis, roughly two-thirds of this decline is due to weak job prospects in the recession and its aftermath (these changes are generally labeled cyclical), while the remaining one-third is a result of long-term trends such as baby boomers beginning to retire (changes generally labeled structural). The cyclical portion of the decline in the labor force participation rate represents nearly four million workers who would be in the labor market if job prospects were strong. The existence of this large pool of “missing workers”—workers who have either dropped out of or never entered the labor market because of the lack of job opportunities—means that the unemployment rate is understating weakness in the labor market.

Arguably the best single measure for assessing recent labor market trends is the employment-to-population ratio of 25-54-year-olds, which is simply the share of the 25-54 population that has a job. The restricted age range—25-54-year-olds, or people of “prime working age”—helps insure that trends are not being driven by retiring baby-boomers or increasing college enrollment of young people, but are instead caused purely by changes in job opportunities.
As the figure shows, the share of employed workers 25-54 plunged dramatically from the start of the Great Recession through the fourth quarter of 2009, and then, for nearly two years, essentially bumped around at the bottom of that extremely deep hole. Since the fall of last year, the ratio has just begun to show signs of improvement.
This means that the improvement in the unemployment rate, from 10.0 percent in Oct. 2009 to 8.1 percent in April 2012, has largely been due to people dropping out of, or not entering, the labor force—not to a larger share of potential workers finding work. This also means that while expansionary policies to generate demand are urgently needed and will help spur job growth, they may also generate upward pressure on the unemployment rate as these missing workers begin to enter or reenter the labor market. That kind of upward pressure on the unemployment rate would be a positive sign.

2012-05-30 "A Billion Dollars to Buy Democracy? Save Democracy, Get Private Money Out of Federal Elections"

posted at [http://kucinich.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx?ID=3P52GMKEURXTNWDLMWZZRE52KQ]

Washington D.C. (May 30, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), author of House Joint Resolution 100, a constitutional amendment to get private money out of federal elections, today released the following video after Politico reported that super PACS and outside groups plan to spend one billion dollars to influence November’s elections. “Corporations are not charities. Corporations and special interest groups are investing this massive amount of money to influence elections because they expect to see a return on their investments,” said Kucinich. “We are witnessing the auctioning off of our political process and our nation. Government has trillions of dollars of present and future assets which will either go for the general health and welfare of the American people or they will be awarded to interest groups for their winning bid.”
Click on the image to see the video. The full text follows:

Money is destroying our politics and our political system.  Our electoral system has become such a joke that two late-night comedians created their own SuperPAC and generated great laughter just by showing how one operates.
Two years ago, in a case known as Citizens United, the five-man Republican majority of the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are “persons” under the First Amendment and that no act of Congress can restrict the amount a corporation can spend in an election. 
This would have staggered our founding fathers.  Corporations in their present form did not even exist in 1789 when the Bill of Rights was ratified.  The Bill of Rights was written to protect individuals from the power of government.  It was never intended to give artificial entities any right to participate in our elections.
To save our democracy, we must get the influence of money out of our elections.  Since the Supreme Court majority is opposed to such reform, the answer is a constitutional amendment.
House Joint Resolution 100, which I introduced, is a constitutional amendment that will require all campaigns for the federal offices of President, Vice-President, Senator and Representative, to be financed exclusively with public funds.  It will prohibit any expenditures from any other source, including the candidate. 
My amendment would be ratified by “conventions” of the various states, the same procedure by which our Constitution was ratified.  The people of each state will elect representatives to a convention for the sole purpose of voting on the amendment.  That way, it will be the people, not the politicians, who will decide this issue.
Save our democracy. Support Joint Resolution 100.

Christian Fascism

2012-05-30 "US Has Second-Highest Rate Of Childhood Poverty In Developed World, Only Romania Is Worse" by Ashley Portero from "International Business Times"
(Photo: UNICEF) UNICEF concluded that nations with government programs designed to aid vulnerable children have lower rates of relative childhood poverty.

The United States has the second-highest rate of childhood poverty in the developed world, according to a new report from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which concluded that nations with comprehensive government programs designed to protect vulnerable children had the lowest rates of child poverty and deprivation.
Out of the 35 wealthiest countries analyzed by UNICEF, only one, Romania, had a child poverty rate above the 23 percent rate recorded in the U.S. The rate is based on the definition of relative poverty used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which states a child is living in poverty if he or she is growing up in a household where disposable income, when adjusted for family size and compensation, is less than 50 percent of the median disposable income for the country in question.
By this standard, more than 15 percent -- about 30 million -- of the 200 million children across the 35 countries studied are seen to be living in relative poverty.
"The data reinforces that far too many children continue to go without the basics in countries that have the means to provide," said Gordon Alexander, director of UNICEF's Office of Research. "The report also shows that some countries performed well -- when looking at what is largely pre-crisis data -- due to the social protection systems that were in place. The risk is that in the current crisis we won't see the consequences of poor decisions until much later."

Nordic Counties, The Netherlands Have Lowest Rates -
Iceland has the lowest rate of relative childhood poverty in the developed world at 4.7 percent, closely followed by Finland (5.3 percent), Cyprus (6.1 percent), the Netherlands (6.1 percent ), Slovenia (6.3 percent) and Denmark (6.5 percent).
Another eight countries -- including France and Germany --  have relative poverty rates between 7 percent and 10 percent, while a third group, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, post rates between 10 percent and 15 percent.
There are only two countries where more than 20 percent of children were found to be living in relative poverty: Romania and the United States.
Interestingly, the report concluded that nations with higher rates of economic development and per capita income did not necessarily have lower rates of childhood poverty and deprivation (the latter defined as when children are lacking two or more of a list of 14 basic items, such as three meals a day, educational books at home, an Internet connection, etc.).  For instance, the report found that children living in Denmark and Sweden are less likely to live in relative poverty than those in Belgium and or Germany, even though all four countries have roughly similar levels of economic development and per capita income.
"The best performers show it is possible to address poverty within the current fiscal space. On the flip side, failure to protect children from today's economic crisis is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make," Alexander said.

15 Million Poor Children in America, And Growing -
The UNICEF report is far from the first to highlight the growing rate of childhood poverty within the U.S.  The National Center for Children in Poverty reports that in 2010, the most recent statistics available, 15 million U.S. children were living in families with incomes below the federal poverty level of $22,050 a year for a family of four.
Although children only compose 24 percent of the population, the organization reports they comprise nearly 34 percent of all people living in poverty. The proportion of children in poverty has been on the rise. For instance, the percentage of children living in low-income families (both poor and near poor) increased from 40 percent to 44 percent between 2005 and 2010, including an 11 percent increase among low-income children and a 17 percent rise among those living below the federal poverty rate.
In November, the U.S. Census reported that children who live in poverty during their developmental years are more likely than their peers to have cognitive and behavioral difficulties, are less likely to complete a high school education, and statistically will experience more years of unemployment as an adult.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012-05-29 "Inside the FBI Entrapment Strategy"
Over the past month, the FBI has initiated a spate of entrapment operations [http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/three-nato-protesters-terrorists/6119/] designed to frame anarchists as “terrorists.” Significantly, they have not targeted longtime organizers, but rather people who are relatively peripheral to anarchist communities.
In response, we’ve prepared a pamphlet suitable for a wide readership explaining how this entrapment strategy works, and an analysis exploring why the FBI has adopted it. Please circulate these widely.
Reading PDF [550kb] [http://cloudfront.crimethinc.com/images/bounty/Bounty-Hunters_Reading.pdf]
Imposed PDF for Printing [550kb] [http://cloudfront.crimethinc.com/images/bounty/Bounty-Hunters_Imposed.pdf]
The Latest Trend in Repression -
Not so long ago, it seemed that the FBI focused on pursuing accomplished anarchists: Marie Mason [http://supportmariemason.org/] and Daniel McGowan [http://supportdaniel.org/] were both arrested after lengthy careers involving everything from supporting survivors of domestic violence to ecologically-minded arson. It isn’t surprising that the security apparatus of the state targeted these activists: they were courageously threatening the inequalities and injustices the state is founded upon.
However, starting with the entrapment case of Eric McDavid [http://supporteric.org/]—framed for a single conspiracy charge by an infiltrator who used his attraction to her to manipulate him into discussing illegal actions—the FBI seem to have switched strategies, focusing on younger targets who haven’t actually carried out any actions.
They stepped up this new strategy during the 2008 Republican National Convention, at which FBI informants Brandon Darby [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Darby] and Andrew Darst [http://rnc08report.org/archive/542.shtml%20target=] set up David McKay [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McKay_(activist)], Bradley Crowder [http://www.pbs.org/pov/betterthisworld/character-bios-crowder.php], and Matthew DePalma [http://rnc08report.org/archive/844.shtml] on charges of possessing Molotov cocktails in two separate incidents. It’s important to note that the only Molotov cocktails that figured in the RNC protests at any point were the ones used to entrap these young men: the FBI were not responding to a threat, but inventing one.
Over the past month, the FBI have shifted into high gear with this approach. Immediately before May Day, five young men were set up on terrorism charges in Cleveland after an FBI infiltrator apparently guided them into planning to bomb a bridge, in what would have been the only such bombing carried out by anarchists in living memory [http://www.salon.com/2012/05/18/who_gets_to_be_an_fbi_threat/singleton/]. During the protests against the NATO summit in Chicago, three young men were arrested and charged with terrorist conspiracy once again involving the only Molotov cocktails within hundreds of miles [http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/three-nato-protesters-terrorists/6119/] [http://chicagoist.com/2012/05/20/nato_terror_plot.php], set up by at least two FBI informants [http://truth-out.org/news/item/9273-more-nato-summit-activists-charged-five-linked-by-two-informants].

Undercover informants  from the NATO entrapment cases
“Mo” [http://truth-out.org/news/item/9273-more-nato-summit-activists-charged-five-linked-by-two-informants]

and “Gloves” (aka “Nadiya”) [http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/05/22/pictures-of-second-nato-5-informant-gloves-published-for-first-time-on-antiwar-com/]

None of the targets of these entrapment cases seem to be longtime anarchist organizers. None of the crimes they’re being charged with are representative of the tactics that anarchists have actually used over the past decade. All of the cases rest on the efforts of FBI informants to manufacture conspiracies. All of the arrests have taken place immediately before mass mobilizations, enabling the authorities to frame a narrative justifying their crackdowns on protest as thwarting terrorism. And in all of these cases, the defendants have been described as anarchists in the legal paperwork filed against them, setting precedents for criminalizing anarchism.

Why Entrapment? Why Now?
Why is the FBI focusing on entrapping inexperienced young people rather than going after seasoned anarchists? Isn’t that just plain bad sportsmanship? And why are they intensifying this now?
For one thing, experienced activists are harder to catch. Unlike anarchists, FBI agents work for money, not necessarily out of passion or conviction. Their reports often read like second-rate homework assignments even as they wreck people’s lives [http://supporteric.org/sacramento_affidavit___crim_complaint.pdf]. Agents get funding and promotions based on successful cases, so they have an incentive to set people up; but why go after challenging targets? Why not pick the most marginal, the most vulnerable, the most isolated? If the goal is simply to frame somebody, it doesn’t really matter who the target is.
Likewise, the tactics anarchists have actually been using are likely to be more popular with the general public than the tactics infiltrators push them towards. Smashing bank windows, for example, may be illegal, but it is increasingly understood as a meaningful political statement; it would be difficult to build a convincing terrorism case around broken glass.
Well-known activists also have much broader support networks. The FBI threatened Daniel McGowan with a mandatory life sentence plus 335 years in prison [http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/images/green_scare_chart.pdf]; widespread support enabled him to obtain a good lawyer, and the prosecution had to settle for a plea bargain for a seven-year sentence or else admit to engaging in illegal wiretapping [http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2007/12/02/daniel-mcgowan-prison-blog-now-online/]. Going after disconnected young people dramatically decreases the resources that will be mobilized to support them. If the point is to set precedents that criminalize anarchism while producing the minimum blowback, then it is easier to manufacture “terror” cases by means of agents provocateurs than to investigate actual anarchist activity.
Above all, this kind of proactive threat-creation enables FBI agents to prepare make-to-order media events. If a protest is coming up at which the authorities anticipate using brutal force, it helps to be able to spin the story in advance as a necessary, measured response to violent criminals. This also sows the seeds of distrust among activists, and intimidates newcomers and fence-sitters out of having anything to do with anarchists. The long-range project here, presumably choreographed by FBI leadership rather than rank-and-file agents, is not just to frame a few unfortunate arrestees, but thus to hamstring the entire anti-capitalist movement.

How to Destroy a Movement -
As we saw in the Green Scare [http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/greenscared.php], FBI repression often does not begin in earnest until a movement has begun to fracture and subside, diminishing the targets’ support base. The life cycle of movements passes ever faster in our hyper-mediatized era; the Occupy phenomenon peaked in November 2011 and has already slowed down [http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupy-spiritual-quest.html], emboldening the authorities to consolidate control and take revenge.
As anarchist values and practices become increasingly central to protest movements, the authorities are anxious to incapacitate and delegitimize anarchists. Yet in this context, it’s still inconvenient to admit to targeting people for anarchism alone—that could spread the wrong narrative, rallying outrage against transparently political persecution. Likewise, they dare not initiate repression without a narrative portraying the targets as alien to the rest of the movement, even if that repression is calculated to destroy the movement itself.
Fortunately for the FBI, a few advocates of “nonviolence” within the Occupy movement were happy to provide this narrative [https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/14-8] [http://crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/violence.php], disavowing everyone who didn’t affirm their narrow tactical framework. Journalists like Chris Hedges took this further by framing the “black bloc” as a kind of people rather than a tactic [http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/] —despite even the Chicago Sun-Times comprehending the distinction [http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12647946-418/black-bloc-a-tactic-not-a-group.html]. Hedges led the charge to consign those who actively defended themselves against state repression to this fabricated political category—in effect, designating them legitimate targets. It is no coincidence that entrapment cases followed soon after.
“The individuals we charged are not peaceful protesters, they are domestic terrorists,” [state attorney Anita] Alvarez said. “The charges we bring today are not indicative of a protest movement that has been targeted.”
The authorities swiftly took up this narrative. In a recent Fox News article advancing the FBI agenda [http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/18599070/the-men-in-black-with-a-violent-agenda], we see the authorities parroting Chris Hedges’ talking points—“they use the Occupy Movement as a front, but have their own violent agenda”—in order to frame the black bloc as a “home-grown terror group.” The article also describes the Cleveland arrestees as “Black Bloc anarchists,” without evidence that any of them have ever participated in a black bloc.
The goal here is clearly to associate a form of activity—acting anonymously, defending oneself against police attacks—with a kind of people: terrorists, evildoers, monsters. This is a high priority for the authorities: they were able to crush the Occupy movement much more quickly, at least relative to its numbers, in cities where people did not act anonymously and defend themselves—hence Occupy Oakland’s longevity compared to other Occupy groups. The aim of the FBI and corporate media, with the collusion of Chris Hedges and others, is to ensure that when people see a masked crowd that refuses to kowtow to coercive authority, they don’t think, “Good for them for standing up for themselves,” but rather, “Oh no—a bunch of terrorist bombers.”
To recapitulate the FBI strategy:
-divide and conquer the movement by isolating the most combative participants
 -stage-manage entrapments of vulnerable targets at the periphery
 -use these arrests to delegitimize all but the most docile, and to justify ever-increasing police violence.

What Comes Next -
The authorities are explicitly announcing that there will be more of these “sting operations” at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa [http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/18599070/the-men-in-black-with-a-violent-agenda]. We can expect more and more “unsportsmanlike” entrapments in the years to come.
For decades now, movements have defended themselves against police surveillance and infiltration by practicing security culture. This has minimized the effectiveness of police operations against experienced activists. However, it can’t always protect those who are new to anarchism or activism, who haven’t had time to internalize complex habits and practices, and these are exactly the people that the FBI entrapment strategy targets.
Three years ago, we called for a collective security culture that could protect even newcomers against infiltrators. In a time of widespread social ferment, however, even this is not sufficient to thwart the FBI: we can’t hope to reach and protect every single desperate, angry,vulnerable person in our society. Infiltrators need only find one impressionable young person, however peripheral, to advance their strategy. These are inhuman bounty hunters: they don’t balk at taking advantage of any weakness, any need, any mental health issue.
If we are to protect the next generation of young people from these predators, our only hope is to mobilize a popular reaction against entrapment tactics. Only a blowback against the FBI themselves can halt this strategy. This will not be easy, but there is no better alternative.
Don’t stop speaking out, organizing, and fighting—that won’t stop them from repressing us or entrapping people. Retreating will only embolden them: we can only protect ourselves by increasing our power to fight back, not by withdrawing, not by hiding, not by behaving.
The best defense is a good offense. So long as capitalism is unstable—that is to say, until it collapses—there will be repression. Let’s meet it head on [http://antistatestl.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/chicago-solidarity-demonstration-in-st-louis-ends-with-arrests-after-police-scuffle/].

Further Reading -
What Is Security Culture? [http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/atoz/security.php]
Towards a Collective Security Culture [http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2009/06/24/towards-a-collective-security-culture/]
Cleveland 5 Support Website [http://www.cleveland5justice.org/about-the-5/]
Lisa Fithian’s Experiences with FBI Informant Brandon Darby [http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/lisa-fithian-fbi-informant-brandon.html]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Student Power in Quebec! Defending their future!!

2012-05-23 "'Biggest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History' Marchers defy Bill 78; Neighborhoods fill with sound of banging pots and pans" by Common Dreams
That's how yesterday's Montreal protest is being described today. Hundreds of thousands red-shirted demonstrators defied Quebec's new "anti-protest" law and marched through the streets of downtown Montreal filling the city with "rivers of red."
Tuesday marked the 100th day of the growing student protests against austerity measures and tuition increases. In response to the spreading protests, the conservative Charest government passed a new "emergency" law last Friday - Bill 78.
Bill 78 mandates:
* Fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution or who participate in an illegal demonstration.
 * Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for protest leaders and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations.
 * All fines DOUBLE for repeat offenders
 * Public demonstrations involving more than 50 people have to be flagged to authorities eight hours in advance, include itinerary, duration and time at which they are being held. The police may alter any of these elements and non-compliance would render the protest illegal.
 * Offering encouragement for someone to protest at a school, either tacitly or otherwise, is subject to punishment. The Minister of Education has said that this would include things like 'tweeting', 'facebooking', and has she has implied that wearing the student protest insignia (a red flag-pin) could also be subject to punishment.
 * No demonstration can be held within 50 meters of any school campus
Bill 78 not only "enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers." Since the law passed Friday, people in Montreal neighborhoods have appeared on their balconies and in front of their houses to defiantly bang pots and pans in a clanging protest every night at 8 p.m.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reports [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/05/22/montreal-day-100-student-strike.html]:
[begin excerpt]
CLASSE spearheaded Tuesday's march, aided by Quebec's largest labor federations. The province's two other main student groups, FEUQ and FECQ, also rallied their supporters.
CLASSE said Monday it would direct members to defy Bill 78, Quebec's emergency legislation.
The special law was adopted last Friday, suspending the winter semester and imposing strict limits on student protests. Organizers have to submit their itinerary to authorities in advance, or face heavy fines.
CLASSE spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said the special legislation goes beyond students and their tuition-hike conflict.
"We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right," he said, walking side by side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.
"If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable."
[end excerpt]
The Montreal Gazette reports [http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Calm+prevails+over+large+afternoon+protest/6662879/story.html]:
[begin excerpt]
A protest organizers described as the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history choked the streets of downtown Montreal in the middle of Tuesday's afternoon rush hour as tens of thousands of demonstrators expressed outrage over a provincial law aimed at containing the very sort of march they staged.
Ostensibly Tuesday's march was to commemorate the 100th day of a strike by Quebec college and university students over the issue of tuition increases. But a decision last Friday by the Charest government to pass Bill 78 - emergency legislation requiring protest organizers to provide police with an itinerary of their march eight hours in advance - not only enraged civil libertarians and legal experts but also seems to have galvanized ordinary Quebecers into marching through the streets of a city that has seen protests staged here nightly for the past seven weeks.
"I didn't really have a stand when it came to the tuition hikes," said Montrealer Gilles Marcotte, a 32-year-old office worker who used a vacation day to attend the event. "But when I saw what the law does, not just to students but to everybody, I felt I had to do something. This is all going too far."
Tuesday's march was billed as being two demonstrations taking place at the same time. One, organized by the federations representing Quebec college and university students and attended by contingents from the province's labor movement, abided by the provisions of the law and provided a route. The other, overseen by CLASSE, an umbrella group of students associations, deliberately did not.
By 3: 30 p.m., a little more than 90 minutes after the marches began to snake their way through downtown, CLASSE, which estimated the crowd at 250,000, described the march as "the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history."
Other crowd estimates varied between 75,000 and 150,000 protesters. Montreal police do not give official crowd estimates but the Place des festivals, which demonstrators easily filled before the march began, holds roughly 100,000 people.
[end excerpt]
The Canadian Press reports [http://montreal.openfile.ca/blog/montreal/2012/quebecers-bring-out-their-pots-and-pans-casserole-protest]:
[begin excerpt]
[...] Shortly before the evening demonstration commenced, supporters in central Montreal districts came out onto their balconies and in front of their homes to bang pots and pans in a seeming call-to-arms.
As well, the powerful Montreal transit union also gave protesters a boost when it called on its members to avoid driving police squads around on city buses during the crowd control operations. Montreal police have for several years used city buses as well as their cruisers to shuttle riot squad officers around to demonstration hotspots and as places to detain prisoners. [...]
The daytime march was considered to be one of the biggest protests held in the city and related events were held in New York, Paris, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. [...]
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesman for the hardline CLASSE group, described Tuesday’s march as a historic act of civil disobedience and said he was ready to face any legal consequences.
“So personally I will be ready to face justice, if I need to.”
[end excerpt]

Sea of red as hundreds of thousands protest Quebec's austerity cuts and new anti-protest law, May 22, 2012. (Photo by Philip Miresco - http://www.philmphoto.com)

Students in Quebec were asked to send their march route to the cops & they replied with this:

2012-05-24 "As Anti-Protest Law Attempts to Stifle Dissent, 400 Students in Quebec Arrested in Mass March" by Yana Kunichoff from "Truthout"
In the most recent escalation in the battle between a Quebecoise government pushing tuition hikes and striking Canadian students, at least three cities saw mass arrests at demonstrations against a newly minted anti-protest law that activists are calling "absurd." [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/05/22/montreal-day-100-student-strike.html]
The "biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history," as some groups are calling it [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/23-5], took place in Montreal, where 400 students were arrested after being kettled by police. Quebec City and Sherbrooke also saw mass arrests in what commentators say is a sure sign that the protests are not letting up [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/19/quebec-passes-student-protest-law].
The Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, and his Liberal Party want to raise university fees by 82 percent in the next five years, "a move that would price many students out of an education," reported Alison Kilkenny [http://www.thenation.com/blog/168049/global-protests-against-draconian-education-cuts-tuition-hikes].
Tens of thousands of students had been protesting for months when Quebec introduced an "anti-protest law, " which raises fines for the arrest of those deemed "protest leaders," doubled fines for repeat offenders and suspended classes at universities with striking students.
On Tuesday, more than 100 students participated in a civil disobedience against Bill 78 that ended in arrests [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/05/22/montreal-day-100-student-strike.html]. And on Sunday night, when Bill 78 was passed, more than 300 protesters were arrested when tens of thousands took the street against the legislation. Tuesday was the 100th day of the protest and Wednesday night was the 30th mass demonstration since students took to the streets three months ago.
The protests have also hit on larger issues of economic justice.
"Rich douchebags are going to be disrupted by night demos," activist Jaggi Singh told a Canadian news agency [http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/99705-charest-quebec-willing-to-hold-talks-with-protesting-students].
Both the education minister and Premier Charest told students they were open to discussions on Wednesday, but the Chronicle Herald reported that there seems to be little room for compromise [http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/99705-charest-quebec-willing-to-hold-talks-with-protesting-students].
"It's unclear what the sides might possibly discuss: the government remains committed to tuition hikes and the student groups remain staunchly opposed to them."

2012-05-23 "Red Square, Everywhere: With Quebec Student Strikers, Against Repression" by Xavier Lafrance and Alan Sears[http://newsocialist.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=630%3Ared-square-everywhere-with-quebec-student-strikers-against-repression&catid=51%3Aanalysis&Itemid=98]
Xavier Lafrance was a spokesperson for ASSÉ in the 2005 strike, and is currently active with the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly and a PhD student at York University in Toronto.
Alan Sears is active with the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly and Faculty for Palestine, and teaches at Ryerson University in Toronto.
The Charest government has turned to repression to try to break the largest and longest student strike in Quebec history. Students had already endured heavy-handed policing, including hundreds of arrests and brutal attacks by riot cops on campuses and in the streets. The new strikebreaking legislation, Bill 78, is a brutal clampdown on the right to organize collectively and on freedom of expression. The protest plans for any demonstrations of more than 50 people must be cleared with the police in advance of any gathering, or the action will be considered illegal.  Individual students, staff or faculty members who advocate the ongoing strike action risk harsh penalties, and student unions or university employees unions who organize or support ongoing strike activity will face heavy fines.
After more than three months, over 170,000 CEGEP (collège d'enseignement général et professionnel) and university students are still on strike against tuition increases and for free education. At its height, the movement mobilized over 300,000 in strike action, some for a few days and others with an unlimited mandate. Over 200,000 joined the massive demonstration on March 22. The strike was triggered by the Charest government’s plan to boost tuition fees by 75% over the next five years, which the government later changed to an 80% increase over 7 years in a so-called “offer” to students. The tuition hike is important as it normalizes the principle of user pay post-secondary education, and thus forms part of the “cultural revolution” promised by Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand to destroy the idea of public services as a social right. The introduction of a flat tax of $200,00 for health services is part of the same agenda.
The strike movement has shown remarkable tenacity despite attempts by the government to drive students back to class through repression, including brutal policing, threats of losing the school year and the heavy use of injunctions to limit the right to protest on campuses. The Charest government has tried to break up the common front of student organizations, offering to negotiate with some groups while excluding others. But this has not worked.
Under pressure from a strike they could not break, the government did offer to spread the tuition increase over seven years, although at the same time bumping up the overall hike. They finally sat at a negotiating table with representatives from the student unions, along with trade union leaders and campus administrations. The resulting “offer” by the government basically committed to passing along some potential cost savings identified by a joint student-administration-government commission to students in the form of tuition reductions. The student unions asked members to vote on this, and it was overwhelmingly rejected. Education Minister Line Beauchamp then resigned, and the government shifted towards the brutal strikebreaking strategy of Bill 78.
The Quebec strike is part of a pattern of anti-austerity activism that has included the massive Chilean student mobilization and militant student movements in Britain and California, as well as uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, the Occupy movement, and anti-austerity strikes in Wisconsin and Southern Europe. There will likely be more protests, as students have every reason to be angry at tuition increases, the declining quality of education and grim job prospects upon graduation. Governments and employers are clear-cutting good jobs, slashing social programs and attacking migrant rights in the name of austerity, leaving post-secondary graduates facing debt and precariousness after an impersonal and often unsatisfactory education.
A poll published in the Globe and Mail on May 7 showed that 62% of students across Canada said they would strike against tuition increases, including over 69% in Ontario. The major obstacle to an upsurge in student activism elsewhere is not a lack of anger, but rather a lack of confidence in the idea that it is possible to fight the austerity agenda of tuition increases and major changes to education. The Quebec student movement has developed sophisticated political perspectives through a long history of mobilization that can contribute to rebuilding the confidence and capacity to fight elsewhere. There is much to learn from the model of democratic, activist student unionism that has played such an important role in galvanizing sustained militancy in Quebec.

Red Square -
Active solidarity with the Quebec strike movement in the face of the Charest clampdown is crucial for student and workers struggles against austerity, as the Quebec government is targeting the right to organize collectively.  This means spreading the red square everywhere. The red square is the pervasive symbol of the Quebec student movement, whether pinned to clothing or used as a graphic on signs, leaflets, culture jams or websites.  It was first used during the 2005 student strike, and it cleverly plays on the idea of debt (“carrément dans la rouge” means “squarely in debt”) and militancy (red is associated with radical activism).  It is not only the symbol itself that has been passed down from the last strike, but also important strategies for effective and democratic mobilization learned through the history of Quebec student activism since the 1960s.  At the core of this strategic vision is the idea of democratic, activist student unionism.
The current strike is the ninth general strike in the history of Quebec's student movement since the 1960s. They have varied in overall strength and effectiveness, and student activists have made conscious efforts to learn from these experiences of success and failure. The first of these general strikes was in 1968, and that mobilization demanded free tuition, the expansion of the francophone university system and democratic administration of educational institutions and policies. The demand for quality, accessible and democratic public education was connected to Quebecois struggles for national self-determination and French-language rights. The English-language education system in Quebec was at the time far more extensive and much better funded than the French-language system. The idea of quality, accessible French-language education was part of a broader agenda for liberation.
The student strike also drew strength from the rising wave of labour militancy sweeping Quebec in the later 1960s and early 1970s. Quebec students also consciously learned from the model of the French student movement dating back to the Charte de Grenoble in 1946, which asserts the student are intellectual workers with distinct and common material interests (for example, for quality, accessible and democratic education), who have the collective power and responsibility to fight for social justice.  The commitment to student unionism modelled on workplace trade unionism represents an orientation to collective strength through organization.
Militant activism, then, has played an important role in forming the Quebec student movement, so that general membership meetings and mobilization committees are written into the bylaws of many local student unions. The demand for free education also has a long history in Quebec. Tuition was basically frozen after the 1968 strike until 1990 through a series of campaigns that included general strikes. Though there was a significant fee hike in the early 1990s, Quebec students have continued to mobilize effectively, and as a result they pay considerably less tuition than in the rest of North America. The history of this movement also means that the idea that education is a public service with an important social role and not a product for sale on the market has considerable currency in Quebec society.
In 2001, the student activists who launched ASSÉ (l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante) engaged with the history of the Quebec student movement to try to develop a strategic perspective for effective mobilization.   Some had been active with MDE (Mouvement pour le droit à l’éducation), which had fallen apart after a failed strike mobilization in 1998. ASSÉ developed a democratic activist approach to student unionism that proved successful in the 2005 student strike and again in 2012, where ASSÉ formed a broader coalition called CLASSE.
Indeed, democratic activist unionism has had an important influence even on the more institutional and lobbyist student federations (Fédération Étudiante Universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and Fédération Étudiante Collégiale du Québec (FECQ)).  While in 2005 FEUQ and FECQ ultimately broke ranks with ASSÉto reach a deal with the government, in 2012 the student unions have stood together. The strength of the solidarity between the student unions this time is partly a response to criticism FEUQ and FECQ faced from their own members after agreeing to a separate deal in the last strike.

Democratic Activist Student Unionism -
The core of democratic activist student unionism is the recognition that students, like workers, have collective interests (e.g. quality accessible public education) and a potential for collective power that needs to be organized to be effective in defending these interests. This kind of student unionism depends on finding ways of fighting collectively around immediate and local issues as well as challenging government policies. Solidarity is at the core of this collective power, both within the student movement and with other allies in social movements.
The potential collective power of students can only become a real force when students have developed capacities to analyze their situation, communicate with each other and act in concert, confident that others will also join the fight.  Governments and university administrations will only really pay attention to student unions that have mobilized and knowledgeable memberships willing to take action to back up demands.
The General Membership Meeting (GMM) plays and important role in this process, as it puts transparent collective and democratic decision-making at the core of the student union. Here, students gather to debate and pass motions to establish the direction of their union. The GMM also elects and supervises delegates to Quebec-wide congresses that coordinate overall campaigns. The GMM is a rich and challenging venue, where activists must engage their fellow students, listen to counter-arguments and attempt to persuade others that mobilization is necessary and possible.
The scale of these meetings varies on different campuses.  In some places, student unionism is organized around specific departments, schools or faculties, while in others it is campus-wide. ASSÉ did not invent the GMM, which is written into the constitution of many student unions as a result of the long history of militancy in the Quebec student movement. Rather, ASSÉ developed mobilizing strategies that used the democratic decision-making of the GMM as a key component of campus activism.
The mobilizing strategies use longer-term campaigns to build up to general strike votes in GMMs. Before the 2005 strike, for example, there were petitions, local weeks of action, office occupations and Quebec-wide protest actions. These campaigns identify and mobilize activists, while also providing an escalating series of protests so that people can genuinely try out more moderate approaches to pressuring the government for changes to see if they work. If the government does not respond to petitions or protests, then an eventual step is to work towards strike action.
These campaigns rely on local executive committees as well as mobilization committees in each local student union. Mobilization committees gather together activists, who learn together through reaching out to persuade fellow students to join in various actions. The mobilization committees orient radical students towards building collective power by working to convince their fellow students that activism can make a difference, rather than simply going ahead and acting on their own. The mandates of mobilization committees are developed in GMMs, so that activist layers are always connected to the collective power of the student body as a whole.
The skills of these activists get enhanced at congresses, where union executives and other campus activists gather to discuss and debate Quebec-wide actions.  ASSÉ also has regular activist camps (camps de formation) where people can learn the history of the student movement, debate key political questions and develop concrete political skills.
This democratic activist student unionism has provided a firm basis for CLASSE (the broader coalition launched by ASSÉ for the 2012 strike) to work strategically with FECQ and FEUQ in the current struggle. strong orientation towards solidarity has also led the Quebec student movement to make strong links with others fighting the austerity agenda.  The slogan “make the student movement into a social movement” recognizes that the struggle for quality, accessible and democratic public education is integrally linked to struggles for worker rights, against poverty, for feminism and for quality public services.  Students have marched in solidarity with locked-out Alcan Rio Tinto workers and made many important connections with others fighting the Charest government. In the period between the 2005 strike and the current one, a number of labour unions had passed motions to support the idea of free education. This solidarity-oriented perspective could be enhanced by a richer and more integrated anti-racist and anti-colonialist analysis that could guide both the activism and demands of the movement for transformation of the education system. It is a hopeful sign in this direction that CLASSE recently came out with a strong statement about the centrality of anti-racism and decolonization in the struggle.
Finally, it is important to combine immediate struggles around tuition hikes with broader efforts to defend education as a public service, in part by fighting to democratize and decolonize the post-secondary system. The Quebec student movement has raised important questions about democratic oversight of post-secondary institutions and opening up the process of establishing spending priorities. Students must be full participants in discussions about effective teaching, research priorities and institutional governance, though they must be very careful not to be trapped into co-administering cutbacks or being pitted against other campus workers, whether staff or faculty. The fight against tuition increases must ultimately be a battle to transform post-secondary education, and the radical wing of the Quebec student movement has been working towards a broader agenda for change.

Spreading the Movement -
It is impossible to conjure up the long history of the Quebec student movement elsewhere to create instant activism. It is possible, however, to apply the strategies of democratic activist student unionism in ways that fit local conditions and experiences. The spread of the democratic activist student unionism can make a real difference as students and education workers elsewhere organize to resist ongoing tuition increases and widespread restructuring that decreases the quality of education. Furthermore, the Quebec movement itself would benefit from the strength of solidarity, both within Quebec from a more active mobilization of workers and community activists, and elsewhere in Canada and around the world.
Indeed solidarity is crucial in the face of the Charest clampdown with Bill 78.  Anyone interested in the right to organize, free political expression or challenging austerity, on campuses or off, must actively support the Quebec students in their resistance to repression and in their struggle against the fee hike. The Charest government and the media throw the fact that Quebec students pay lower tuition than elsewhere in Canada or North America in the face of this strike movement all the time. In reality, Quebec students pay less because of their long history of resisting tuition hikes and fighting for democratic, accessible and quality education. The Quebec government is clearly determined to push Quebec tuition upwards toward the higher levels elsewhere, and will try to do so until student movements in the rest of North America begin to roll back those outrageous increases and push towards free tuition.
As we mobilize effective solidarity in the face of the Charest crackdown, we need to spread the red square everywhere. This does not mean simply pinning the symbol of the movement on our clothing, through that is great. Nor is it sufficient to pass resolutions condemning repression in Quebec, though that is absolutely necessary. Rather, we need to work towards the democratic activist student unionism that can galvanize the collective power of students and connect it to the struggles of workers and other fighting the austerity agenda.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2012-04-22 "Susan Sarandon: The Government Hacked My Phone; At a Tribeca Film Festival forum with Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon says the government’s been tapping her phone. Meanwhile, Moore suspects Fox News may be doing the same" by Lloyd Grove
Actress Susan Sarandon has had her phone tapped by the government and was recently denied a security clearance for a visit to the White House. Director Michael Moore might have been tapped, he says, but he really suspects that Fox News has been hacking phones in the United States.
Those were a couple of the claims made by the two celebrity activists Sunday during a Tribeca Film Festival panel about documentary filmmaking and others subjects, such as Moore’s intense dislike of Davis Guggenheim’s much-applauded 2010 education documentary Waiting for “Superman.”
“We know we were under surveillance,” Sarandon said in answer to a question from the audience during a Q&A with Moore. “I’ve had my phone tapped,” she went on, noting that she gleaned the disturbing evidence from two Freedom of Information Act requests. “I was denied a security clearance to go to the White House and I don’t know why. Do you know why?”
Moore—the director of such popular documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story, each giving a left-leaning critique of, respectively, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care American-style, and the 2008 financial meltdown—said about being spied upon, “I never think about it,” though he wouldn’t be surprised if “somebody, somewhere” has subjected him to surveillance. “As it should be,” he joked.
“I’ll make a prediction about the phone hacking thing and Murdoch,” Moore added. “It’s going to be discovered that it’s been going on here,” not just in Britain, where phone hacking by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has become a major political scandal. Moore mentioned Fox News—of which he is a longtime antagonist—as a likely culprit.
Meanwhile, in answer to a question about whether he would “like to follow in the footsteps of Guggenheim” and direct a documentary about education, Moore said, “I would not…I hated that film.”
He said he ended up disliking Waiting for “Superman,” after initially enjoying the movie, because “it said the teachers and the unions are the problem. But they’re not the problem.”

2012-05-23 "The BIBLE SAYS if you vote for a democrat and were to die thereafter you would go to hell" by Conservative Byte

Posted at [http://conservativebyte.com/2012/05/the-bible-says-if-you-vote-for-a-democrat-and-were-to-die-thereafter-you-would-go-to-hell/]

This is not meant to be emotional or inflammatory, it is simply stating a fact and to warn.
The Bible does say that if a person votes for a democrat (the promoters and supporters of sin) and were to die without repenting of that, he or she is going to hell.
I think this is an important message for blacks and hispanics who think they are Christians and who don’t want to offend God but who vote lock step for democrats.
2Thess. 2:12, says that if a pro-gay marriage person were to die today with that stance, they would not go to Heaven. “Then everyone who did not believe the truth, but was delighted with what God disapproves of, will be condemned.” And one way that a person expresses that delight is: how they vote … especially if it’s for a candidate who supports gay marriage or any other sin.
Romans 1:32, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things* deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” And one way we approve is by how we vote. (* “such things” are in the rest of Romans 1:18-31 – e.g. homosexuality, lesbianism, strife, deceit, slander [political sound bites], gossips, idol worshippers, God-haters, atheists – all primarily attributes of liberals.)
I say this to warn my Christian brothers and sisters with a message from God that they might have missed and that puts them in danger.
Jesus said that “few” are going to Heaven. And 83% of people in the U.S. say they are Christian. That isn’t a “few”. Therefore, many who think they are Christian aren’t going to Heaven.

 Dennis Marcellino is the author of THE PROOF that God exists and the Bible is true (which can be seen at www.ConclusiveProofOfGod.com) as well as the political books The Plague Of Liberalism (which can be seen at www.ThePlagueOfLiberalism.com) and THE Solutions (which can be seen at www.TheOptimumPoliticalSolutions.com). He is also available to speak: www.ChristianProofs.com.

Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

2012-05-23 "KKK plans rally in North Iredell" by Donna Swicegood from "Statesville Record & Landmark"
The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally and cross-burning in northern Iredell County on Saturday.
Flyers advertising the Harmony-area rally specify “white people only” and say it is a “white unity event.” Eden-based Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is organizing the rally on private property at an undisclosed address.
A call placed to the number listed on the flyer was answered by a machine. The male voice on the machine said the rally is not about hate and said “Save our land, join the Klan,” and concluded with the words, “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right.”
A message left by the R&L on the machine was not returned as of Tuesday evening.
Skip McCall, president of the Statesville Branch of the NAACP, said while he is disappointed to learn that such ideals are still being espoused, the KKK has the same rights to free speech as anyone else.
“I may not agree with what they say but I will defend to the death their right to say it,” he said.
He said the racial division promoted by the KKK is a distraction to the NAACP’s mission of eradicating racial division.
Woody Woodard, the former president of the local NAACP chapter, said he had not seen the flyers but he isn’t concerned about the rally. “I don’t think anybody I know would get excited about it,” he said.
According to the information on the flyers, the event will take place at an undisclosed location near Harmony on Saturday and will include a cross-lighting at dusk.
Capt. Darren Campbell of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are aware of the rally but will not have a presence there unless called for service. “It’s on private property,” he said, adding that law enforcement cannot be on the property unless a crime is committed.
“Our officers are aware in case any problems should arise,” he said. “But they have not asked for any assistance for us. They have not reached out to us.”
Woodard said he believes this is the first instance of any organized Klan activity in Iredell County in the past 20 years. There were a couple of marches through downtown Statesville in either the late 1980s or early 1990s, he said.
There were no significant problems at those marches, Woodard said.
He said he hopes the Saturday rally will fade off into history as did those marches.
“My personal hope is they have their rally and nobody comes. That would be good for Iredell County, good for North Carolina and good for the nation,” he said.

2012-05-23 "Imperial Wizard says hundreds will attend "whites only" rally; town shocked" by "WBTV"
Members of a controversial white rights group are planning to gather in Iredell County and one of the Ku Klux Klan's highest ranking officials says he expects hundreds to attend.
Flyers for the event say the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan will gather for a "whites only" rally on Saturday in the town of Harmony. The event is being billed as a free rally and cross lighting slated as a "white unity event."
Why Harmony? A lot of people have been asking "Why has the KKK chosen to meet in Harmony?"
The small town has around 600 people and no stop lights.
Imperial Wizard Barker told WBTV that the group chose Harmony because a member of the group lives there and has a 20-acre that is private and big enough for the expected crowd.
The national office for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is in Eden, North Carolina.
WBTV spoke to Imperial Wizard Chris Barker, the head of the Loyal White Knights, on the phone Wednesday evening. He says the group is expecting between 350 to 400 people at what he calls a "private event."
Harmony is so small that there's not even a traffic light, but down at the fire department a one woman crusade is underway against the KKK.
Martha Estep plans to be outside the building every day between now and Saturday's rally.
"People are still attending KKK meetings, people are still racist, and people don't talk about it publicly," she said.
While published flyers mention the town of Harmony, town leaders are going on the offensive to distance themselves from the event.
Ray Lewis is a town board member and a political pioneer.
"I was aghast first and I couldn't believe it," he said. "The town that I live in. I was the first and the only black that's been on the board of town of Harmony, and I've been on the board for 14 years."
WBTV also spoke with Mayor Joyce Rogers, who weighed in on the planned rally.
"We're very against this coming to our town, because we have a very nice community," Rogers said. "We get along in our community." 
The town has just under 600 people and WBTV couldn't find anyone who was connected to the event.
Imperial Wizard Barker told WBTV that the group chose Harmony because a member of the group lives there and has a 20-acre that is private and big enough for the expected crowd.
But Barker wouldn't go into specifics as to where the rally was actually being held. He would only say that the event is slated to start around noon and last until around 10 p.m.
The flyer states for specific rally information, to call the group's 24-hour hotline.
WBTV placed a call to the number listed, which was picked up by a machine. The nearly minute long message stated that the LWK's rallies were not about hate, it was about preserving the white race.
The voice message quoted a Bible verse from Exodus 33:16. It also threw out quotes such as "Save our land, join the Klan," and "If it ain't white, it ain't right."
The rally is expected to end with a "cross lighting at dusk," the flyer states.
When asked about the reasoning behind the cross lighting, Barker says its a ritual that started with the six founding members of the KKK, who would go to the highest point and light a cross so members would know where to meet.
He says it's also a symbol that Christ is the light of the world.
Barker told WBTV that a naturalization ceremony, a swearing in for new members, will also be part of the rally. He says there is expected to be more than 20 new members from North Carolina.
According to Captain Darren Campbell of the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, deputies are aware that the rally is expected to happen in Harmony.
He says staff will be prepared to respond, if law enforcement is needed.
"The Loyal White Knights is a law abiding Christian Organization. We stand for pride in our race;  and what our people have done past ,present and future," the website for the Loyal White Knights states. "We stand for freedom of speech, law and Order. We are here to protect our family, race and nation. To exemplify a pure patriotism towards our glorious country."
The Federal Bureau of Investigations considers the KKK a "white supremacy extremist group."
Barker says the FBI can label his organization whatever it wants, but they label themselves as a White Separatist Group.
"The Blacks have the NAACP the Mexicans La Raza and the Jews have the ADL," the website for the Loyal White Knights states. "We whites all across America have the Ku Klux Klan; fighting for a Brighter Whiter America."
He questions why other groups can have organizations for the betterment of their race, but whites can't.
"The KKK has done a lot of good things over the years - helped a lot of people," Barker said. "It's a shame when someone is 'White and Proud' that they get labeled a racist."

Imperial Wizard Chris Barker, head of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (photo source: KKKknights.com)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012-05-22 "Why a Growing Movement of Young People Could Ignite a Workers' Revolution" by Michelle Chen
Article originally published as "What Labor Looks Like: From Wisconsin to Cairo, Youth Hold a Mirror to History of Workers' Struggles", in "Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America" edited by Daniel Katz and Richard A. Greenwald, published by The New Press.
Michelle Chen is a contributing editor at In These Times. She is a regular contributor to the labor rights blog Working In These Times, Colorlines.com, and Pacifica’s WBAI. Her work has also appeared in Alternet, Ms. Magazine, Newsday, and her old zine, cain. Follow her on Twitter at @meeshellchen or reach her at michellechen @ inthesetimes.com.
Every revolution needs two essential ingredients: young people, who are willing to dream, and poor people, who have nothing to lose. Yet the social forces that make movements strong also incline them toward self-destruction. Hence, over the past few decades, uneasy intergenerational alliances have melted away as impatient young radicals bridle against the old guard of incumbent left movements. At the same time, when it comes to organizing, without patronizing, poor folks, activists continually struggle just to find the right language to talk about systemic poverty in a sanitized political arena that has largely been wrung dry of real class consciousness.
Today, of course, activists tend to speak eagerly about reaching out to “the youth,” or of overcoming cultural rifts between middle class professional organizers and the workers they seek to transform into the next vanguard. But the activism stemming from the recent economic crisis proves not only that the left could use some serious tactical upgrading and fresh blood, but also that movements cannot overturn entrenched social fault lines by sheer force of will. Like any embattled community that needs to rebuild, shepherding activism into the next generation requires that established organizers learn how to retire gracefully, that those moving onto the front lines learn how to temper urgency with patience—and that all sides recognize that there are things they don’t know.
In Wisconsin in February 2011, no one knew what would happen as they gathered at the state capitol. A few picket signs, a megaphone or two, maybe a well-orchestrated sit-in until getting politely marched off by cops. But soon, the optics defied just about everyone’s expectations. Middle-aged school teachers might have done a double take when they saw teenagers detour from their weekly mall trips to join the picket lines; sanitation workers who traveled to the statehouse with their union colleagues probably didn’t anticipate marching alongside young Hmong community activists. The biggest surprise about turnout was the very absence of a defining image: there was no single movement or ideological agenda, no figurehead at the helm of the crowd. The only message emanating from the masses during those days was simply “No.” No to a draconian piece of legislation that threatened a basic labor right that many workers had either forgotten or taken for granted, until it had been threatened with extinction.
So the slogan “This is what democracy looks like” had a ring of both pride and puzzlement: what could we divine about the “look” of democracy from this pastiche of contrasting faces, political orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds? After a parliamentary trick allowed the antiunion measure to slip through the legislature, the movement faced a moment of compunction: was it really about killing the bill? Or protecting unions? Or was it about the fight for the soul of the labor movement, and the question of whether Wisconsin had inaugurated a nostalgic revival or narrative of rebirth.
Technically, the protests sought to preserve the collective bargaining rights of certain public sector unions. But many of the protesters may never have benefited from the collective-bargaining process, in large part because they were too poor, too new to the country, or above all too young to have been of a generation when unions were strong in America. They nonetheless intuitively grasped that collective bargaining represented the sovereignty of working people, principles that organized labor has historically embodied and championed.
So what does democracy look like? The answer will be defined by the young activists who are connecting with, rediscovering, and ultimately redefining labor with a capital L. Perhaps many of the youth who protested in solidarity with the Wisconsin demonstrations never grew up with any labor tradition in their families. Their parents may instead have worked low-paying service jobs or migrated from other countries without independent unions. But their introduction to the movement was through labor’s historical link to broader struggles for social justice—a link that is often overlooked even by unions themselves. In Wisconsin, the idea of labor rights was presented as a counterpoint to a pattern of systematic exploitation of people and public resources: from the corporate underwriting of elections, to the distortion of school curricula by rigid testing regimes, to mounting frustration with chronic unemployment in an unmoored global economy. The new wave of labor activism had a youthful glow: rage polished by cynicism, but also galvanized by an idealism relatively unfettered by the left’s historical baggage of ideological rifts, turf battles, and race and gender chauvinism. So now a reborn movement needs to cross a generation gap, which is also in many cases a culture gap, education gap, and racial gap.
Older progressive activists today stem from New Left movements that underwent a similar break with their antecedents. Many young radicals in the 1960s and 1970s repudiated the chauvinistic and parochial elements of their parents’ labor movement. In his blue-collar revisionist memoir, Striking Steel, Jack Metzgar, who grew up as the son of a steelworker before going on to teach college, interrogated the white unionist heritage that appeared shamefully regressive in the face of the escalating antiwar and civil rights movements. Radical youth, who later became educated liberals, saw in the old-school factory workers of his father’s generation an image of stiff-lipped industrial union men as “the principal perpetrators of racism, sexism and narrow-mindedness in American society. Who could remember that unions had once been more than a white male plot to keep blacks in their place? Who could remember that the Labor movement, as a social movement that made a difference, laid some of the ground work for the Civil Rights, community organizing, and women’s movements?”
Fast forward to Madison, where tradition is entering a new day of reckoning: if the radical legacy of leftist unionism in the early twentieth century has waned, the public memory loss hasn’t just been on the part of youth. Labor itself has suffered from collective amnesia, forsaking militancy for the softer politics of Beltway lobbying, burrowing in the tradition of “business unionism” while burying faded embers of feminist, antiracist, or anti-capitalist critiques. But there’s a bolder, more vital strand of that tradition that must be rekindled in light of current struggles for social justice and human rights. So the protests in Wisconsin (and solidarity rallies in Ohio, New York, and many other communities) blew some of the dust off of labor’s “usable past” by showing young people how economic security dovetails with social justice and human rights. It’s at the intersection of these struggles that a college student graduates with a lifetime of debt. Or a young single mother has to drop out of high school to work at the local big box retailer—the only place hiring in her neighborhood. Or a twelve-year-old Mixtec girl aches with longing when she sees her friends leave every morning on the school bus while she goes back to work the fields with her parents, who don’t get paid until the season, and the semester, ends. Different voices harmonizing into one cry for justice, one that’s often silenced by a socially tone-deaf political system.

Labor's Face-Lift -
The labor movement may already belong to youth, but they don’t know it yet. More than two-thirds of young people aged sixteen to thirty-four are in the workforce, but only about one in twelve belong to a union, according to the Labor Project for Working Families, a research initiative of Cornell University and UC Berkeley. At the same time, youth unemployment edged up to a historical high of about 19 percent in mid-2010. Among black and Latino youth, the rate exceeded 30 and 20 percent, respectively. And while working young women had lower official jobless rates, unemployment among black and Latina women in their twenties more than doubled from 2007 to 2009, faring even worse than their male counterparts. Many months into our so-called recovery, countless young people in communities across the country—and many more in the impoverished Global South—are stuck on the sidelines of an economy they should be running.
Declining unionization rates are a symptom and a cause of this declining quality of life. Youth aren’t naturally apathetic; there’s no shortage of awareness or even anger at everyday labor issues like income inequality, lack of health care, or underemployment of highly educated workers. What’s missing is brand recognition. On a material level, it’s easy to see why unions might hold limited appeal for younger workers who have no access to or desire for the kind of lifetime job security that strongly unionized sectors have traditionally enjoyed. On the other hand, a recent study by Jonathan Booth of the London School of Economics and Political Science noted that a big factor in unionization is simply the time when a worker has a chance to join a union. Enrollment generally happens when people first enter the workforce, and after a certain point opportunities for unionization tend to fall off. In the sample, older workers (aged twenty-one to forty-one) were tracked into union jobs at just about a third of the rate of their younger counterparts (aged sixteen to twenty-five), so potential for unionization is actually skewed toward the young end of the age spectrum. The study concludes, “younger workers are not less receptive to unions than older workers,” but initial exposure to unionism, positive or negative, will shape attitudes toward the movement for years to come. From an organizer’s standpoint, the takeaway is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Even if they haven’t been impressed by the labor movement, in an age of twenty-four-hour news and social media, young workers should be more aware than ever of the value of their contribution to the economy and their collective experience everyday in the cubicle, training center, or unemployment office. Their lives, grievances, and anxieties are constantly “shared”—in the metaphysical sense and the digital sense—by legions of peers. So they know that they’re not the only ones dealing with unfair wages, tumbling from one parttime or temp gig to another, watching the value of their hard-earned degree erode as they e-mail job applications in their parents’ basement. Then there is the psychological tax of having to live on credit, deprived of the chief source of wealth in the postwar era, real estate. Meanwhile, their parents’ generation, once buoyed by the promise of intergenerational mobility, is entering retirement unable to chart either their children’s economic destiny or their own as they age out of the workforce.
Some commentators have questioned whether the new normal is a shift in the time frame of life, as young people delay financial planning, marriage, and other major life decisions. Don Peck predicted in a seminal 2010 Atlantic article, “this era of high joblessness will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults— and quite possibly those of the children behind them as well. . . . It may already be plunging many inner cities into a kind of despair and dysfunction not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years.” But such apocalyptic forecasts suggest the younger generation is somehow doomed. But in reality, boomers were slapped with the same dire predictions, and they generally survived, even achieved middle-class respectability. There are also indications that kids today are a positive exception to the generational boom-bust cycles. If globalization is potent enough to disrupt traditional pathways to upward mobility, doesn’t it also have the potential to blaze new social systems—horizontal rather than hierarchical, dynamic rather than bureaucratic—that can guide us toward different kinds of wealth and fulfillment?
It may be true that younger Americans—historically lacking the class consciousness that is more ingrained in popular culture in Europe—tend to define themselves outside of class paradigms. But this isn’t so much a reflection of a “loss of class consciousness” as it is a displacement of class politics by other movements and forms of identity. While “identity politics” has become a pejorative shorthand for “frivolity” among older liberals and conservatives alike, the very fact that there are still relatively few arenas for serious discussion on race, sexual and gender identity, immigration status, and other cultural fault lines shows how little space young people today have for grappling with these tensions. The way people frame problems of young versus old, rich versus poor, religious versus secular might in fact obscure more complex divisions in society for which “mainstream” political discourse has yet to develop a vocabulary. Today’s haves and have-nots don’t conceive of assets and power only in socioeconomic terms—not in a world where culture, sexuality, taste, language, and immigration status all mediate one’s social standing.
If mainstream commercial culture militates against “class” as a common identifier, this is not simply a matter of materialism; it has much to do with the fact that many are entering the workforce from wildly different places in life, diverse in cultural background, tastes, and political consciousness. This is the cultural arena in which the labor movement must compete for shortened attention spans. On the other hand, many organizers tend to exploit young people as tokens to score hipness points for middle-aged organizations or they ignore them as inexperienced and uncommitted. Youth respond with corresponding enthusiasm or disengagement, for it’s easy to tell when one’s role in a movement is being taken for granted.
The events of September 11, 2001, were for many a catalyst that rejiggered our worldviews; suddenly we were situated in a much bigger world, full of people on whose misery our relative prosperity was fundamentally contingent. Ten years on, young people are still rising to the challenge, and occasionally slipping back into apathy or disillusionment. While the labor movement could easily let the zeitgeist slip away, public opinion suggests that 2011 could mark a paradigm shift in labor if it can articulate a message that resonates with young people’s aspirations as individuals and as members of a broader social mobilization, one that is hungry for new blood in the ranks of nonprofit organizations, fresh ideas for campaigns, ingenuity in media production and network building, and a wholesale rethinking of what it means to organize in an increasingly messy political landscape.
But rethinking involves revisiting the past, too. The movements of the civil rights and Vietnam War eras handed down templates for organizing and direct action. They established a language for debating power, challenging traditional intellectual and economic hierarchies, and linking “third world” issues with U.S. economic imperialism and militarism. That’s a usable past that can cast today’s hardships in a global as well as historical light.
And the conflicts among activists today echo the social and economic divisions that drove past meltdowns within leftist movements. There is a broad underclass of youth who don’t tweet, won’t ever go to college, and might drop out of the workforce altogether because they see their job prospects as hopeless. If the labor movement lacks mass appeal among youth with enough time and energy to devote to a movement, it lacks currency among the truly destitute youth who have trouble even envisioning a future: kids who’ve grown up in high-poverty neighborhoods where opportunities for economic advancement are scarce, the school system devalues young minds, and children are afraid to hope. Racially charged criminal justice policies push many to cycle in and out of courts and prisons before they ever have a chance to land a steady job.
These kids are alienated from the unions that have fixated on saving “mainstream” workers and keeping the blue-collar “middle class” from slipping down the income ladder. These communities may have advocacy groups, churches, and other organizations that will stand up for their interests, but labor, as both a movement and a civic institution, is losing a generation of youth who desperately need a platform of economic enfranchisement outside of the school and economic and government agencies that have failed them.

From Wisconsin To Kingsbridge -
The showdown in Wisconsin offered a glimpse of what youth-labor solidarity could look like. But it’s not always easy to mesh old-school labor sensibilities with the pluralism of a more freewheeling activist scene that stresses spontaneity and regeneration.
In the North Bronx, a campaign for economic equity brought together labor struggles and youth issues in unprecedented ways, but also exposed uncomfortable fault lines. In 2009 and 2010, the working-class community surrounding the Kingsbridge Armory was divided over a development plan for the site—a massive landmark structure that real estate developers, city officials, and neighborhood groups had all hoped to turn into a commercial and recreational hub. Eventually, a plan to transform the citadel-like space into a shopping mall emerged, backed with promises of new jobs for the neighborhood. Grassroots activists wanted more than just jobs, though; they seized on the armory as a battleground for a living wage campaign, pressing council members and developers to move forward with development on the condition that it would enable local people to earn enough to support families and provide resources for enriching local youth.
The Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance, under the guidance of progressive local leaders, the Retail Workers Union, and the watchdog group Good Jobs New York, gave voice to community groups who envisioned a space where labor rights and youth rights were mutually respected. Early on in the planning process, community advocates called for a development plan that incorporated spaces and facilities for local schools. This campaign then evolved under the leadership of community groups such as the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition into a broader agenda of an inclusive, democratic planning process. At the crux of their campaign was a call for decent wages and working conditions, rather than the deadend retail jobs that many low-income young people have to take to scrape by.
But the grassroots coalition was at odds with the local building trades union, which supported developers’ interests in rushing forward with the construction, hoping to generate short-term union jobs. The tension between these interests elucidated some of the fundamental rifts that thread through many low-income urban communities. The community’s long-term interest in the project was apparently not a priority for the leadership of the building trades, who could wield their union clout to bargain over working conditions outside of the community arena, and could rely on union-supported jobs as long as the ground was being broken. The battle over the armory continues. Although the initial plans fell through—prompting some criticism that the untenable demands of activists had left the community with no development at all—the neighborhood won a more enduring victory: the architecture of a new community alliance that drew from a broad cross section of the impacted area, from clergy to teachers, and even some progressive labor groups who pursued a more holistic, inclusive vision of economic development.

Kingsbridge To Cairo -
When fresh pizzas arrived at the Wisconsin statehouse courtesy of Egypt, there was more than culinary diplomacy at work. On the other side of the planet, a parallel convergence of labor and youth had inspired the overthrow of a dictator. Providing a hot meal to kindred spirits in Madison was just another way of nourishing the solidarity that the Arab Spring had seeded.
The protests in Wisconsin are not comparable to the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions in scope or political valence. Still, the parallel images—protesters camped out in Tahrir Square and occupying the lobby of Midwest statehouse—are more than a cute diptych for your tumblr. They reflect a global youth crisis, as millions come of age in an unsustainable labor market.
Activists will argue for generations to come on whether or when capitalism is due for a complete collapse. But the fact is that the demographics of the global unemployment line are more troubling than ever today. Around the world, the International Labor Organization reported in 2010 that some 80 million youth were officially jobless— and the global youth unemployment rate the International Trade Union Confederation calls a “social time-bomb.” That statistic also obscures the rates of employment in marginal and “underground” industries such as domestic and agricultural labor or work in the sex industries. The trend has prompted labor organizations around the world—who typically push a more ambitious political agenda than U.S. unions dare to—to call on governments across the industrialized world to invest more in the social safety net, establish more progressive tax policies to reduce income inequality, and revamp workforce training and job development programs to link youth to meaningful work.
But the struggle doesn’t end with labor-friendly government policies. A robust independent labor movement is critical to the empowerment of the next generation of workers, who will be the chief negotiators of a more just social contract. Contrary to the arguments of corporate lobbyists, it is the low rates of unionization in the U.S. workforce that erodes labor conditions and puts American workers at a disadvantage in the global economic recovery.
While the economy globalizes, labor must follow suit. With more women and immigrants moving into the workforce, rendering it less white and male than ever, preserving the labor movement for future generations demands we recognize that it will never be the same. The good news is that countless young workers have grown up with this reality and can work within it to effect change, in the workplace, in the public square, even in the statehouse.
According to the Labor Project’s report, innovative ideas for organizing youth originate, not surprisingly, with youth themselves. Communications tools like social media may be key to the mass-scale and spontaneous organizing and “rebranding” of unions and worker centers. But more importantly, there are concrete investments to be made in young people as workers, future parents, and global citizens. During the New Deal and Great Society eras, the federal government established a network of work force development resources, f rom summer youth employment programs to public works jobs, in response to economic crisis. Public schools were once seen as the seedbed of innovation and intellectual progress, not a boondoggle that “wastes” taxpayer funds on the children of the poor.
This new movement does not come with an instruction manual. But perhaps the main concept to keep in mind is that those who seek to shape a new labor-youth alliance need to get used to being uncomfortable and, indeed, making themselves leave the comfort zones into which many had sunk as they grew accustomed to being permanently relegated to the political margins. Not that conflict is always a virtue: the past century of labor movements in America suggests that indulgent internal antagonism can be about as damaging as consensus for the sake of consensus. But if all sides are genuinely seeking common ground, then honest dialogue is a good place to begin choosing worthy battles. For the most part, there may be more battles on which we can agree than intractable conflict among us. We recognize social investments that can draw community-wide support: good public schools, 64 Labor rising fair opportunities for jobs and housing, and an environment we’re not afraid to let our children play in. And we recognize the need for both empathy and mutual respect between communities, acknowledging the integrity of differences without letting them turn into insurmountable barriers to solidarity.
Citizenship, locally and globally, demands from each of us an understanding of the importance of collective bargaining and union power, of the right to be free from exploitation and abuse, and of the ways in which global capitalism pits workers against each other across borders, between public and private sectors, between distinctions of “legal” and “illegal” labor. Those currently heading unions and other labor-oriented organizations need to engage youth in a discussion on how the movement can, or should, serve their needs and aspirations. The right people together in a conversation—in a church basement, at the next parent-teacher meeting, or on a Twitter feed—is sometimes all that’s needed to catalyze the creativity that shared hardshipcan unlock. To understand this is the very definition of being young.