Friday, August 22, 2008



The following is from Recreate 68.

Food Not Bombs Community Feeds — August 24-27, 11am and 5pm

Food Not Bombs will be coordinating with groups from across the country in order to provide public feeds at 11am and 5pm on the 24th at Lincoln State Park between Lincoln and Broadway, and on the 25th through the 27th at Civic Center Park. Food Not Bombs will also be serving burritos on the 28th, after the immigrant rights march.

The Democratic administration that runs the City of Denver will be opening their emergency shelters to round-up and hide the homeless from the delegates. It would create too much guilt for the DNC to see the effects of an inhumane and destructive capitalist system as they spend $1,000 per plate for their fundraising dinners.

We believe that we need to take care of the most vulnerable members of our community and not hide them from view. Therefore all food cooked for at the DNC protests will be free to all!

How You Can Help

In order to feed the numbers we anticipate, we will be running a number of food drives. For now, please bring any item on the list to any R-68 public meeting. If you are interested in being a food-drop spot, please contact us.

Rice, Beans, Oats, Flour, Oil, Sugar, Canned Tomatoes, Salt, Pepper, and Spices
Fresh Produce the week before/of the DNC
Water, Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa
Camping Stoves
Plates, Cups, Spoons, Plastic ware, Picnic Plates, Plastics (light reuseable plastic or paper)

Food Not Bombs asks you to bring your own plate/bowl, cup, and silverware to keep it green.

If you would like to volunteer your time, food, or culinary skills during the convention email Food Not Bombs at, or call 303-573-3896.

Days of Resistance — August 24-28
During the convention, there will be five major protests, one each day. Each protest will focus on a symptom of the disease of an imperialist, capitalist, racist system as seen in our communities. Some of the proposed themes are as follows:

Sunday - End All Occupations at Home and Abroad
Monday - Human Rights/Free All Political Prisoners
Tuesday - No Racism/Imperialism
Wednesday - No Warming
Thursday - No Borders

Doc’s Place — August 24-28
Members of the Colorado Street Medics, R68, and other volunteers will be assembling two tents, affectionately named Doc’s Place in memory of Street Medic co-founder Doc Rosen.

While we are well on our way in the planning, we still need more healthcare providers, spanish/ESL interpreters, clerical volunteers and financial and medical supply donations. If you are interested in our response to the ineffective capitalist health care dilemma and want to create institutions run by the people, please contact us.

End the Occupations March and Rally — West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building, August 24, 9am
END THE OCCUPATIONS No more free pass for the Democrats. Join R68 and others as we march to end all illegal imperialist occupations in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Hawaii, North America, and others. The Dems have the power to put an end to the United States’ illegal colonizations and wars, but they will not without pressure from the people. Join us as we create that pressure and say:


The March will begin at the WEST STEPS OF THE CAPITOL and end on Speer Blvd in front of the Pepsi Center.

Speakers (Alphabetical):

Ida Audeh - Palestinian Refugee
Kathleen Cleaver - Black Panthers
Ward Churchill - Long-time Author, Activist, and Scholar
Mark Cohen - Re-create 68 Alliance
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. - Prisoners of Conscience Committee
Larry Hales - World Worker’s Party and Re-create 68 Alliance
Larry Holmes - Troops Out Now Coalition
Ron Kovic - anti-war activist, veteran and author of Born On The Fourth of July
Cynthia Mckinney - Green Party United States Presidential Candidate
Glenn Spagnuolo - Re-create 68 Alliance


David Rovic - State Capitol Steps, kicking of the rally
M1 and of Dead Prez - State Capitol Steps, prior to the march
Blue Scholars - Concert at State Capitol, after the march
Jim Page - State Capitol Steps, during the rally

Festival of Democracy — Civic Center Park and Skyline Park, August 24-28
The Festival of Democracy will be a five day event running in conjunction with the DNC Convention. The Festival of Democracy will include free music and performing arts, free food, and free institution building and political training. The purpose will be to share some fun and to work towards the development of programs and networks that will address our community problems ourselves, without relying on the two party capitalist system. We will also be offering a 24 hour free medical clinic for all community members to receive free health care.

MONDAY, AUGUST 25 — Civic Center Park

Festival of Democracy, entertainment start time - 3pm

Civic Center Park (free concerts)


Savage Family - From Illegally Occupied U.S.
Dinigunim - San Diego
DJ Cavem - Five Points, CO
Moetavation - Five Points, CO
DJ Asar Heru - Brooklyn
Karma - Barbados
Whiskey Blanket - Boulder
Midstate Music - Chicago
Dario Rosa - Boulder

Special Guest Speakers and Poets Between Acts

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26 — Civic Center Park

Festival of Democracy, entertainment start time - 3pm

Civic Center Park (free concerts)


Debajo Del Agua - Denver
DKO-Electric Horns - Denver
Melanie Susuras Band - Denver
Rebel Diaz - Bronx
The Night Kitchen - Boulder
From The Depths - North Carolina
Black Sheep Brigade - Boulder

Special Guest Speakers and Poets Between Acts

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 — Skyline Park

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 — Skyline Park

Poets for Monday and Tuesday:

Isis, Ladyspeech, Bianca, Lucifury, Allende, Bobby LeFebre (members from Nationally Ranked Slam Nuba Team 2008)

Additional Speakers Throughout the Week:

Deb Sweet - World Can’t Wait
Mason Tyert - SAFER
Timothy Tipton - Rocky Mountain Caregiver’s Cooperative
Ben Manski - Bring the Guard Home
CHOIR - ‘Acapella Choir with a conscience’ from Oakland/San Francisco
Ramona Africa - MOVE Organization

More to come. Stay tuned.

Festival of Democracy Music Showcase
Civic Center Park, Downtown Denver (Broadway/Bannock & Colfax/14th )

Monday, August 25, 2008

3pm Savage Family (Illegally Occupied US)
Savage Family, H.G.S. / Higher Grounds of Struggle are a collective of a movement/ resistance that exists with or without them and with or without a name. Savage Family, HGS represents the voice of their people, a people that have been ignored and unheard for years. They are the Forgotten, the people without names, faces, and voices. They are sacred in their imposed silence, and they will be silent no longer.

4pm Di Nigunim (San Diego)
Di Nigunim plays a balagan brand of eastern european revolutionary dance punk. Their passion will make your heart race and your feet stomp, the sweat will dance from your brow. The San Diego based 8-piece came together in the spring of ‘07 and was soon playing a string of shows promoting the No Borders Camp which took place on the US-Mexican border later that year. Too traditional to be avant-garde, but too fucked up and crazy to be traditional, Di Nigunim will blast rhythm to your bones. This is a band interested in social change and armed with only melody, they’re shaking the system in D minor. If there needs to be a soundtrack to the rumbling and crumbling of empires who rob life and dignity, this band will provide it.

5pm DJ Cavem/Moetavation (Five Points)-DJ Asar Heru (Brooklyn)-Karma (Barbados)
Vita, aka MAAT, Michael Walker aka DJ Cavern of the HipHop group Moetavation is an all-around B-Boy utilizing his gifts to serve as: MC, poet, educator, graffiti guru, a world traveler and award-winning community arts activist. As a cultural worker born and raised in Denver, Ietef continues to develop his Interests and career in Audio engineering And music business by working with producers such as DJ Musa of Roadside Profits, Ase One of Ground Zero Movement, Jeff “Apostle” Campbell of the Colorado Hip-Hop Coalition, and Toni Blackman of Freestyle Union. Ietef works with organizations such as One Nation Enlightened, the Spot, Colorado Progressive Coalition, and PS1 Charter School, and is the founder/producer of the BrownSuga Youth Fest At the Starz Denver Pan African Film Festival which brings together local and national Artists, nutritionists and filmmakers to engage Youth and educators in Denver.

DJ ASAR & Audio Art Crew is building the reputation of providing a Premium DJ/Performer who can mix it up 4 any tasteful crowd. Specializing in progressive, house, hip alternative, electro soul, upbeat, reggae & hip hop classics that invoke a social message of positivity! DJ Asar has experience and currently plays @ some of Denver’s hottest upscale hangouts & private parties. With the beautiful energy of Florida & Brooklyn still in his soul, he brings a unique vibe that transcends any one particular genre to create what we call AUDIO ART!

7 pm Whiskey Blanket (Boulder)
Whiskey Blanket represents a style of hip-hop that demands more from the audience. An eclectic group, Whiskey Blanket consists of 20 year-old Steakhouse (MC, Producer, recording engineer, pianist/bassist, turntablist), 22-year-old Funny Biz (MC, beatboxer, cellist ), 22-year-old Sloppy Joe (MC, violinist). The group, which has been together since 2002, released its self-financed, independent debut album “Its Warmer Down Here” in the summer of 2004.

8 pm Midstates Music (Chicago)
Midstates makes music in Chicago for the world to hear. Their songs index the triumph of the human spirit, create an orchestra of sound. The sound is king, and by blending the independent elements, they create unique songs unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

9 pm Dario Rosa (Boulder)
Dario Rosa is a man obsessed with the groovy look and explosive sound of the 1960’s. He was born in 1969, and saw his first Monkees episode when they began re-running them in 1973. From that moment he knew he wanted to sing and play guitar; to be in a band and experience and enjoy everything that comes with it. He started my first band at 14 and has been in a dozen since then — everything from rock to reggae to gospel to mambo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3pm Debajo del Aqua (Denver)
Formed in Denver, Colorado, Debajo is composed of musicians from Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Mexico and the States. They suse a vast diaspora of styles, incorporating elements of hip hop, Andean music, salsa, samba, cumbia, reggae, and more. Their music is a reflection of the multicultural fruits growing from the southern tip of tierra del fuego to the northern tip of turtle island.

4pm DKO (Denver)
Darren Kramer is an accomplished composer, arranger, and producer of many styles resulting in several commissioned works and an award from the John Lennon International Songwrtiting Contest for his original composition “Not Far From Here”. He has produced several exceptional recordings featuring world-renowned artists such as Eric Marienthal, Rick Margitza, Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Gary Willis, and the late Michael Brecker who praised Kramer’s music as “fresh, innovative funk by a brilliant, upcoming trombonist” . The most recent DKO CD release is entitled “Electric Quartet” and features a unique blend of 21st century Electric Trombone and B3 Organ producing an exhilarating sound of Brecker Brothers meet James Brown!!!

5pm Melanie Susuras Band (Denver)
The Melanie Susuras Band (MSB) is the perfect blend of catchy songwriting, breathtaking vocal talent and dazzling musicianship. Whether you attend an all-out rockin’ full-band show or an intimate acoustic performance, the fire and passion comes through loud and clear. MSB’s acoustic driven rock is a blend of folk, rock and funk that adds up to create an extremely danceable sound.

6 pm Rebel Diaz (Bronx)
Rebel Diaz, the in-your-face trio out of Chicago, mix strong political statements with their dynamic flow and character. As a performance group, Rebel Diaz came together in early 2006 when they were invited to perform their revolutionary music at the historic immigrant rights march in New York City, in front of 500,000 people. This opportunity to speak to the masses began as a direct extension of their political work in the South Bronx, where they currently organize around immigration, education and housing issues. Today, Rebel Diaz travels throughout the world performing and organizing, using Hip Hop as a tool for education and social change.

7pm The Night Kitchen (Boulder)
The Night Kitchen is a live hip-hop band featuring drum set, bass, violin, trumpet, turntables and vocals all tastefully fused into a hard-hitting, eclectic jazz-funk sound. With eight musicians on stage during every performance, The Night Kitchen promises an energy level leagues above the likes of other hip hop acts. The Night Kitchen has a young, active and content driven sound that caters to both the groove junky and educated listener alike. Each musician brings a unique, stylistic perspective to the Kitchen creating a very edible and tastefully fused dish of hard hitting funk, classically skewed with a blue grass finish.

8pm From the Depths (x catharsis) (North Carolina)
From the Depth is a Metal/ Hardcore / Death Metal band, hailing from Irmo, South Carolina.

9pm Black Sheep Brigade (Denver)
Black Sheep Brigade hits Denver with a ferocity that is rarely seen anymore. In the midst of the current pop-punk phenomenon, BSB refreshes the scene with a punk, metal, hardcore sound that pulls no punches. Charged by radical politics, anger, and PBR, this band is sure to leave you bloodied and bruised, both mentally and physically. BSB hopes to bring back a social consciousness to a scene that has become saturated with mediocrity, over-production, and lethargy. With the perfect combination of high-energy punk, heavy metal breakdowns, and leftist propaganda this band will leave you either extremely offended or ready to take up arms, we hope the latter. Fuck you!

Freedom March — Civic Center Park, August 25, 9am
Join supporters of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, The Cuban Five, and other political prisoners for the Freedom March and Rally! Leonard Peltier’s parole hearing will take place in 2008. Let us not forget that the Clintons left him in jail and did not pardon him. Free Mumia, the Cuban Five, the Guantanamo detainees, and others. The march will begin at Civic Center Park and end with a rally at the Federal Court House.

Hear a personal recording specific for this protest and the DNC from Mumia and Leonard
Call for the Freedom of Mumia and the Cuban Five
Call for an end to Human Rights abuses

Speakers (Alphabetical):

Pamela Africa - MOVE Organization
American Indian Movement Spokesperson - Leonard Peltier Defense
Rosa Clemente - United States Vice Presidential Candidate for the Green Party
Kathleen Cleaver - The Panther Nine from San Francisco
King Downing - National Coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling
Jenny Esquiveo - Spokesperson for Eric McDavid (Political Prisoner)
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. - Prisoners of Conscience Committee
Mumia Abu Jamal - Current Political Prisoner (Recorded from Death Row)
Cha Cha Jimenez - Founder of the Young Lords (Puerto Rican Resistance Prisoners)
Ricardo Romero - National Coordinator for the Mexican National Liberation Movement (MLNM)
Natsu Saito - Author, Activist, and Human Rights Scholar (Guantanamo Inmates)
Spokesperson for the Cuban Five


** Special Guest Band To Be Announced **

Shake Your Money Maker — Denver Mint, August 25, 5pm
It’s time to redistribute the wealth. Between security and corporate pay-offs, the DNC will cost over 100 million dollars for a party. We think the people deserve that money. Join us as we encircle the Denver MInt (where U.S. currency is produced) and use our collective power to raise the mint building in the air and shake the money out of it for the people. Don’t forget a sack to put all of your loot in.

Bring noise makers, energy, spells, magic,costumes, anything that gives you power. We’ll need it!



According to a news report by ecological group Sociedad Homo et Natura, a virtual state of emergency is operating in the Perija Sierra (Zulia) where Yukpa indians and local landowners are fighting over lands.

The Yukpa ethnic group is demanding legal title to its ancestral lands. They have "squatted" on farms in the area of Machiques (see map) to force the issue.

Venezuela Analysis reports the Yukpa were attacked last week by hundreds of armed "aggressors." According to the Yukpa, the attacking goons were hired by elite landowners to evict the indigenous population from the vast, largely idle pastures in the region known as the Sierra de Perijá near Venezuela’s northwestern border with Colombia.

The attacks were the latest and largest in a string of attempts to intimidate and terrorize a Yukpa community since they intensified their land recuperation efforts efforts over the past year by occupying 14 privately owned estates known as Haciendas. The Yukpa community has repeatedly suffered violent evictions, physical assaults and death threats by armed groups allegedly hired by the owners of the estates Tizina and Kusare. Despite repeated complaints and requests for protection made to the authorities, little appears to have been done to stop these outrages.

There have been reports of mediation and agreements, but events seem to contradict them.

Now, the National Ranchers Federation (Fedenaga) says it will take action against the invasion of nine farms in the Perija Sierra by the Yukpa and Motilon Indians. Six hundred producers have announced protest marches with other civil sector groups, claiming that the invasions are blocking 9,000 liters of milk a day destined for the Socialist milk industry.

According to the Venezuelan constitution, ratified by popular vote in 1999, and an Indigenous Peoples Law passed in 2005, the government has the obligation to grant indigenous communities legal title to their ancestral lands.

But the government has not often done this. Thus, Yukpa leaders say they have no choice but to trespass on the lands that were stolen from their grandparents over the course of the 20th Century.

Anonymous National Guard officials told independent journalists Monday that their troops are expecting to receive orders to clear the indigenous communities from the haciendas.

President Chavez has, as we say in the USA, flip flopped time and again on the issue.

One indigenous leader Cacique Romero who has helped organize the land occupations said this week, "The landowners have taken control of lands which by law pertain to us. While the landowners continue deforesting the region to make pastures for their cattle, we are rescuing crops, cacao, corn, sugar cane, avocado and coffee.

Regional and local authorities from both opposition and pro-government camps who support the expansion of coal mining in the delicate watershed region have consistently opposed the empowerment of Yukpa, Barí, and Wayúu indigenous communities in the area often resulting in protests and conflicts.

The following is from El Universal (Venezuela).

Ranchers denounce squat

The Venezuelan National Ranchers' Association (Fedenaga) reported that agricultural and livestock organizations in western Zulia state planned to protest for a state of uneasiness in several farms in the area of Machiques de Perijá as a result of squats by indigenous people.

According to a communiqué issued by Fedenaga, 600 local farmers and ranchers held a plenary session where they agreed to stage protests together with the civil society against the squat of nine ranches resulting in destruction of fields, pastures, machinery and even the cattle.

They added that some workers in the farms had been injured by the squatters with sharp weapons and firearms.


This just in from the let them eat cake department. While Swaziland remains one of the very poorest countries in the world, nine of the King's thirteen wives chartered a plain and hightailed it to Europe for a shopping binge.

More than 1500 mostly HIV positive women marched in protest on the streets of Mbabane. The protesting women brought traffic to a standstill in the city. They marched to the offices of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, who were both not available to receive their memorandum.

The march, organized by Swaziland Positive Living for Life (SWAPOL) , a non-governmental organization for women with AIDS, culminated in protesters handing a petition to the country's Finance Ministry saying the money spent to send nine of King Mswati III's 13 wives to Europe and the Middle East for shopping could have been better used on the home front, the BBC reported Thursday.

"While the country is affected by a number of socio-economic challenges, we find it inappropriate for government to finance some activities that are neither national priority nor interest such as the trip that has been undertaken by the Emakhosikati to His Majesty the King, children, aides, bodyguards and their maids…We are demanding that the minister (of finance) show us the budgetary line for covering the costs of the Emakhosikati’s trip," states the petition.

The Cape Town News reports dressed in red, white, blue and orange T-shirts, the demonstrators marched across the capital, yesterday carrying placards with slogans such as: "we want multi-party democracy now", "enough is enough" and "tax payers' money does not belong to royalty".

"With this march, we want to drive home the point that we people who are living with HIV/Aids are not happy about the way our money is being used," said Siphiwe Hlophe, spokeswoman for two NGOs working with HIV positive women - the Women's Coalition of Swaziland and Swaziland Positive Living.

They questioned how money could be spent on a shopping trip when Swaziland faced shortages of medicines including anti-retrovirals.

SWAPOL Director Siphiwe Hlophe proclaimed, "Right now, we have HIV patients who can’t afford to take their medication because they can’t afford food. WFP (World Food Programme) and other donor agencies can’t keep up with the demand for food,"

According to the Times of Swazilan, she then informed the recipients of the petition that they had 24 hours to respond to the concerns failing, which the matter would be taken further. Hlophe said the SWAPOL executive would today be "fetching" the response from both offices.

The following is from Monsters and Critics.

King Mswati's wife protest

Women's rights activists in Swaziland have staged a protest over the royal family's lavish spending.

The march was staged to demonstrate against a shopping trip taken by nine of King Mswati III's 13 wives last week, after they chartered a plane to go to Europe and the Middle East.

The protesters reportedly handed a petition in to the finance ministry, arguing that the money could have been better spent.

They claimed: "We can't afford a shopping trip when a quarter of the nation lives on food aid."

However, royal family sources claimed the extravagant trip was necessary as the wives needed to prepare for the '40-40' celebrations next month, which will mark both the 40th anniversary of independence from Britain and the 40th birthday of King Mswati.

A source is quoted by Britain's The Daily Telegraph as saying: "The queens have to look radiant and that is why they have to go and buy quality for the big day. They were being spoiled."

However, Women's Coalition of Swaziland spokesperson Ntombi Nkosi said: "Those given the money do not even contribute a cent to the money they are looting."

Siphiwe Hlophe, of Swaziland Positive Living, a co-organiser of the march, added: "We are against the idea of public funds being used in a questionable way by people who are not employed and do not bring any revenue to the country's coffers."

Earlier this week Jim Gama, the governor of the Swazi royal capital Ludzidzini, condemned the march as "un-Swazi".

He said: "I have never heard of women marching. All I know is that a woman has to seek permission from her husband to register her disagreement with whatever was happening in society but not for her to march. That is un-Swazi."

Swaziland - Africa's last absolute monarchy - is one of the poorest countries in the world, having been in a state of emergency since 1973, and more than 40% of the population is believed to be infected with HIV.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The Oread Daily has previously reported on the fascist campaign against Roma currently underway in Italy. Besides physical violence directed against Roma by vigilantes and their ilk, the actions of the new Italian government have been just as ominous. These have included racist and inflammatory rhetoric as well as the actual implementation of a series of draconian policies targeting the Roma. Even before the new government took power in May its representatives had promised a "crackdown" on Roma, and indicated that those who would take the law into their own hands would suffer few if any consequences.

Thus, the EU Observer reports, on May 11, four Molotov cocktails were thrown into Romani camps in Milan and Novara. On 13 May, assailants burned the Ponticelli Romani settlement in Naples to the ground, causing the approximately 800 residents to flee while Italians stood by and cheered. On 9 June, a settlement of around 100 Romanian Roma in Sicily was attacked and burned to the ground. (pictured above is a picture of a Roma camp set afire by Italian thugs).

Italian Minister of Internal Affairs Roberto Maroni, also a member of the extreme right Lega Nord party, is reported to have stated about these attacks: "That is what happens when gypsies steal babies."

Maroni has also told the media: "All Roma camps will have to be dismantled right away, and the inhabitants will be either expelled or incarcerated." The new government has acted on this promise by destroying the housing of Roma in a number of areas, and expelling their inhabitants, or simply forcing them into homelessness.

The new government has also carried out a forced fingerprinting campaign targeting all Roma living in camps, as well as passing a law which defines the mere presence of Roma in a given area as a state of emergency.

Despite these facts, the European Union has to date been "incapable" of responding appropriately to the scale of crisis. This although the Union has the power under the EU Treaty to act preventatively when a risk arises threatening the principles on which the Union is based, notably, "the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States".

Claude Chan of the Advocacy Unit, Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), wrote recently, "As long as the Union institutions tolerate the current actions and inactions of the Italian government, the message of the European Union to the Roma of Europe is, 'We care little about your pain. We are deaf to your interests.'"

But the inaction of the EU really is no surprise. After all it isn't only in Italy where the Roma are treated like dirt. Roma communities throughout Europe live in conditions that are glaringly inadequate: poor or dilapidated housing, lack of sanitation and sewage facilities, cramped living quarters and lack of clean water, electricity and emergency services. In addition the Roma are often segregated from the larger society and effectively ghettoised. Because Roma people often live in conditions that are not legally sanctioned, they also face an increased risk of forced eviction and displacement.

In Manchester, England real people plan to protest all of this crap next month. I hope this is just the beginning of a fight back campaign.

The following is from the Anarchist Federation.

Invitation to Roma solidarity demo on 19 September 2008, in Manchester

Join the Anarchist Federation, Manchester No Borders and Roma groups for a solidarity demo against repression of Roma in Italy, taking place in Manchester, Britain in September. All welcome.
Date: Friday 19 September 2008
Time: 11.30am
Place: Italian Consultate. 111 Piccadilly Manchester, M1 2HY.

The Anarchist Federation is having a demo on Friday 19th September at the Italian Consulate in Manchester (the day before the big demo at the Labour conference, also Manchester). It's at 11.30am, at 111 Piccadilly Manchester, M1 2HY.

The demo follows serious attacks on Roma people in Italy including physical attacks on camps, threats of fingerprinting of the Roma population (including children) and right-wing/fascist manipulations by Italian politicians & press that are linking Roma people to 'crime' and 'illegal immigration' which is increasing popularist calls for their expulsion from Italy and destruction of Roma camps.

Manchester No Borders & Roma groups in the north-west have already confirmed they will participate.

Please come & bring placards & banners!


First off, let me say there seem to be more protests, demonstrations and pitched battles in India then anywhere in the world. I could post dozens of these sorts of articles a day if I wanted.

Landless organizations, labor leaders, students and others have denounced the use of force by the Punjab police on ‘peaceful’ farm workers during a protest march to Lambi, the home turf of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Thursday. BKU district general secretary Gurmail Singh Burjan said the protesting farm workers were intercepted by the police near village Kheowali on their way to Lambi and were attacked by police leaving many of them injured (some of whom are pictured here). The police had fortified the Lambi village to prevent the entry of protesters.

The workers, who were pushing for an increase in daily wages and many other long ignored demands, were proceeding in a procession to hold dharna (a hunger strike) at Badal village in support of their demands when they were stopped by police.

Eighteen activists of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, including women, sustained injuries when the police fired rubber bullets, tear gas shells and used water cannons to stop them from moving towards Badal, the native village of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The Tribune reports the landless farmers were marching towards the village to protest the non-acceptance of their long-pending demands. They were demanding land for dumping waste in Aulakh village, financial help for families affected by militancy in Fatoohiwala village, plots for the landless and possession of the allotted plots.

The leaders alleged that Badal had promised them on April 14 to accept all their demands but nothing had been done in this regard. The protesters, who had started their march from Lambi, faced police barricades on the road leading to Badal village. They were intercepted at Kheowali village.

Lachman Singh Sevewala, general secretary of the union, said: “We had minor demands that would have cost the government around Rs 1,15,000 only. We had met senior officials of the district administration, but except for assurances, we got nothing”.

“We had already sent a memorandum regarding the two-day protest to the Chief Minister through the deputy commissioner, Muktsar. The SHO of Lambi, the DSP and the tehsildar had held a meeting with us on Wednesday. They sought the postponement of the agitation for one month, which we had turned down,” he added.

Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union (Hindi for 'Indian Land Workers Union')which organized the march is a trade union of agricultural labourers in India. BKMU is politically tied to the Communist Party of India. BKMU is independent from both the main trade union central of CPI, the All India Trade Union Congress, as well as the farmers' organisation of CPI, the All India Kisan Sabha.

The following is from the Times of India.

Cops-landless labourers' clash: 50 injured

BADAL (MUKTSAR): In the ongoing agitation of landless labourers under the banner of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union against the Muktsar district administration and state government, a clash with the police on Thursday left 50 injured.

The incident took place when after a verbal duel with the police at Kheowali village charged up the protesters, who wanted to hold a demonstration in front of the ancestral house of the chief minister at Badal village.

When the cops failed in controlling them it then used force. In what ensued the cops used lathis, water cannons and rubber bullets while the labourers pelted the police with stones.

Muktsar SSP Gurpreet Gill claimed that it were the labourers who attacked the police first and the latter acted in self-defence.

However, Sukha Singh, a labourer admitted at Bathinda hospital with many injuries, alleged that it was the police which started beating the labourers without any provocation. Among the injured were six women and seven policemen.

The labourers were now continuing with their dharna at Kheowali, near Badal village.

It all started when at a meeting the CM had reportedly conceded their five demands and the agitators had agreed to withdraw the stir. “In the past four months the state government showed no concern about fulfilling the five demands, forcing us to start the agitation on Wednesday,” said Laxman Singh Sewewala, general secretary of the union.

On Wednesday when labourers assembled at Lambi and threatened the protest march, the district administration held a meeting with the farmers' body leaders. But after failing to reach a consensus the labourers went ahead with their march.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Residents of a small community in North Georgia are trying to get our voices heard. They've been trying for a while now to little avail.

The residents are the neighbors of LHR Farms & Rocking H Ranch. For over twelve years they have been complaining to their local government.

LHR Farms, a waste-disposal operation that processes material pumped from septic tanks and grease traps all over North Georgia. Day after day, week after week, year after year trucks dump the stuff no one likes to deal with: septage from residential tanks and commercial grease from restaurants. After being treated on-site, some of the solids are removed and taken to landfills. The rest of the material is spread or sprayed on fields on the property.

Nearby residents are tired of smelling it. They are tired of their health being affected of it and they are tired of no one listening.

Who can blame them?

Anyway, LHR Farms, owned by John Hulsey, has been in operation since 1996. Almost anyone who regularly travels through White County on U.S. 129 has no doubt wondered about the source of an overpowering odor.

"It's a rotten, sick, decaying smell," Sandy Alexander, who lives directly across the street on Joe Turner Road told the Gainesville Times last January. "It will stimulate your gag reflex. We can't sit outside."

Alexander's 26-acre property has been owned by her husband's family for six decades. For the first 10 years of LHR's existence, the Alexanders didn't complain about the farm because they raise poultry themselves, and they understand that odors are an unavoidable part of agricultural life.

"But about two years ago, the situation became absolutely unbearable," Alexander said.

These people have been patient, lord knows how, but they have.

They've been patient while local and state officials dithered, while bureaucratic state regulations allowed the problems to continue.

Last year, Alexander began a personal quest to learn whether she and her neighbors are being harmed by pollution from the site. After being diagnosed with a kidney tumor in May, she drew on her background as a nurse to research the topic.

"I discovered that cadmium and other heavy metals (in sludge) can cause certain types of kidney cancer," she said. "Then I started checking around and found other neighbors bordering the farm, all of whom were on well water, who also had kidney diseases."

Along came Peggy Rutter (pictured here) who lived about a mile from Alexander. She formed a group called North Georgia Against Spreading Septage (whose website has provided lots of the info you are now reading). The owner of LHR Farms actually filed suit to stop Peggy's website from publishing information. He failed.

Rutter's chief concern is that no government agency is checking for pollution in the areas surrounding LHR - with good reason.

Earnest Earn, a coordinator with EPD, said Hulsey's operation was permitted by the White County Health Department environmental services group when he started land applying septic waste.

Then in February 2005, the state passed House Bill 54, effectively removing the requirement that septic waste disposal facilities located in counties without zoning get written approval from their county governments. In essence, the law gave Hulsey the right to operate under a letter from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Rutter and Alexander both believe that the amount of waste being processed at LHR has increased dramatically over the past few years. Alexander began counting the number of trucks going into the farm and estimated that the farm must be processing about 175,000 gallons a day, based on the average load per truck.

Peggy is a go getter.

In a letter dated five months ago to White County Manager Alton Brown, a water and soil analyst recommended that LHR Farms cease its spray irrigation in south White County until more testing could be completed.

That spraying, however, has not ceased and the results of the testing were not shared with the public.

The latest water and air test results conducted by Dr. Eberhard Essich of Appalachian Water & Soil Analysis, Inc., on sites near LHR Farms have been made public due to a freedom of information request by, you guessed it, Peggy Rutter.

The owner of LHR farms says there is no problem.

Commenting on an article about the controversy on Topic News, Tiffany wrote:

"My Mom lives RIGHT across the road from this place. In 2000 she began getting sick with a compromised immune system and now has to receive monthly immune globulin treatments that are in the excess of $5,000 a month. My sister has also been having "colon problems". Both of their problems can easily be linked to contaminated water and air since they drink the county water. Also, my daughter is supposed to attend Mossy Creek, but I refuse to let her go to a school and be at risk of drinking the contaminated water. It is a shame that we can't even drink pure water in the mountains."

Tiffany is far from alone in her concerns.

Old Highway 75 South resident Angela Nickolaus says she's lived near LHR Farms for nearly three years, and never had upper-respiratory ailments until she moved there from the “other side” of White County.

“I'm only 41 years old,” Nickolaus told the White County News. “My doctors said I have tumors and cysts in my nasal passages and sinus cavities. I'm almost always congested. I take over-the-counter medicines like Allegra and nothing ever helps. I also have kidney problems.”

Nickolaus said her hair has begun falling out “in clumps.”

“What concerns me more is that my 17-year-old daughter's hair has started falling out,” she said.

Nickolaus and her family are still on well water, but says she is now buying bottled water for drinking.

Perhaps, the most significant point of this whole story is summed up best by the White County News:

"Though the county has wisely hired an environmental law firm to help it negotiate a voluntary monitoring agreement with LHR Farms and has paid for water testing, county officials are not leading the charge for change."

The driving force behind the fight to protect county residents' health and safety, not to mention the environment, has come from the residents themselves."

Peggy Rutter, Sandy Alexander, Susan Kruzdlo, Gary Hopkins and others who live or work near LHR Farms want to put a stop to any environmental and health risks that could be caused by the septic waste disposal site."

Concerned residents have gained strength for their cause by banding together."

Rutter founded NGASS, North Georgia Against Septage Spreading."

She and Alexander went to court last January to fight for their right of free speech, to be allowed to continue criticizing LHR Farms operation and asking hard questions."

Rutter and her husband, Newt Rutter, have spent money out of pocket to pay for open records requests, to determine what LHR Farms brings in to its facility."

Likewise Hopkins, a partner in Plastek Werks, Inc., has paid for air testing to be conducted, to determine if LHR Farms operation has adversely impacted air quality."

Alexander is working with Dr. Betsy Kagey, a chief epidemiologist with DHR, and Dr. David Westfall, District 2 Public Health Director, on health issues related to LHR Farms."

Alexander passed out community health surveys earlier this week to south White County residents so that medical experts can identify the community's needs and medical issues."

It shouldn't have to be this way.

But across this great land of ours, it too often is!

Thank goodness for the good citizens who stand up, organize themselves, and fight back.

The following is from the Gainesville, Georgia Times.

White County residents sue septic disposal business

After almost a year of protesting against a septic waste disposal facility in southern White County, some residents have decided to take a more drastic step.

Earlier this month, a dozen families and one local business filed a lawsuit against LHR Farms and its owner, Gainesville resident John Hulsey.

They claim that odors and pollution from the farm have made them ill and prevented them from enjoying the use of their property. They accuse LHR of trespass, nuisance and negligence, and seek compensation for the alleged harm done.

They also seek punitive damages for LHR’s "willful and intentional conduct, bad faith and conscious indifference."

"(The lawsuit) is a last resort, but it’s the only thing left to do," said Susan Kruzdlo, one of the plaintiffs. "It’s a very sad situation."

LHR Farms began operating in 1996 on a 350-acre site just south of White County’s Telford Hulsey Industrial Park. The only facility of its kind in the region, it accepts waste from septic tanks and restaurant grease traps, discharging most of it into the ground.

LHR also was spraying some of the septic waste onto fields until June 2007, when the Georgia Environmental Protection Division realized that the farm didn’t have a permit for land application.

EPD only learned about the situation after receiving numerous complaints about foul odors in the area.

In October 2007, EPD issued a consent order requiring LHR to apply for a permit and to make sure its effluent didn’t exceed pollution standards.

EPD inspectors visited the site on Jan. 18 and again on April 8. On both occasions, they found many violations of state environmental rules, including spraying in the rain, failing to sample effluent in November and December, poor operation and maintenance of the facility, too much fecal bacteria in the effluent (three violations), too much nitrate in the groundwater (five violations) and excessive flow of effluent.

In addition, LHR was cited for accepting wastewater from a dry-cleaning business and for accepting more than 200,000 gallons of biosolids from the Linwood wastewater treatment plant in Gainesville. LHR is not permitted to process those types of waste.

On June 23, EPD sent LHR a notice listing all these violations, asking that they be corrected.

"We met with LHR Farms on the violations, and we are still working out how it should be resolved," said Jane Hendricks, manager of the EPD’s wastewater permitting and enforcement.

There are two possibilities, she said. They could reach a negotiated settlement, which may require LHR to pay a fine. If there is no settlement, EPD may have to issue an administrative order, which requires corrective action but does not include a fine.

"When we met with them, they provided a lot of explanations," Hendricks said. "They’d say, ‘Yes, we made a mistake, we’ll correct it.’"

But if "mistake" implies an inadvertent action, EPD still is trying to figure out how some things happened. For example, Hendricks said LHR accepted waste from Linwood not just once, but at least 36 times.

"We are looking into taking action on Linwood," she said, adding that Gainesville could be liable if the waste was knowingly sent to an unapproved facility.

Kelly Randall, director of Gainesville Public Utilities, said he hasn’t heard anything from EPD about LHR Farms.

"We have a contract with Earth Products in Plains, Ga., which mixes sludge with peanut shells. Normally, sludge from the digesters (part of the wastewater treatment plant) would go there," Randall said.

"But when the old Linwood plant was demolished, there was still some sludge in the old digesters. A construction contractor handled that, and the contractor was supposed to dispose of it at a permitted facility."

Sandy Alexander, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, said neighbors are frustrated because EPD seems powerless to do anything about LHR Farms.

"The EPD does not have the funds or staff to monitor (Hulsey) as he needs to be monitored," she said. "He thinks the rules don’t apply to him."

Peggy Rutter, leader of a protest group called North Georgia Against Spreading Septage, said that’s what prompted the lawsuit. She believes EPD is dragging its feet on taking action because of what she calls "good old boy politics."

Critics point to a 2005 Georgia law that was passed specifically to exempt LHR Farms from local jurisdiction. The bill was sponsored in the state legislature by two of Hulsey’s friends, Rep. Carl Rogers and then-Sen. Casey Cagle, critics say.

Hulsey could not be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday. He no longer does interviews regarding LHR and has hired a public relations firm, Jackson Spalding, to handle media inquiries.

"I haven’t talked to Mr. Hulsey in a few weeks, and I haven’t heard about this (lawsuit), so I’m out of the loop," said Brian Brodrick, spokesman for Jackson Spalding.

Hulsey’s environmental attorney, Greg Blount, is out of town this week, and unavailable for comment. His Gainesville attorney, Ed Hartness, could not be reached Tuesday.

At Hulsey Environmental Services, Hulsey’s plumbing and septic business in Gainesville, a woman who answered the phone said, "We know of no lawsuit against us. We have no comment."

Donald Stack, an Atlanta environmental attorney who agreed to take the LHR neighbors’ case on a contingency basis, said the lawsuit was filed in White County Superior Court on Aug. 1 and defendants were given 45 days to respond.

"The point is to bring attention to what’s occurring," he said. "There’s clearly property devaluation (to the residents). The goal is to have Hulsey and the farm be a good neighbor."

Stack said a second lawsuit may be filed in federal court, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act. But he said he’s not trying to shut down LHR Farms.

"(Hulsey) has a right to run his business," he said.

Though the lawsuit requests a jury trial, Stack said it probably will never go to a jury.

"More than 90 percent of our cases are eventually settled out of court," he said.

In a way, the neighbors’ lawsuit might be considered payback. On Jan. 9, Hulsey filed a lawsuit for a restraining order against Rutter and Alexander, alleging that their protests, including yard signs and a Web site, were hurting his business’ reputation.

Two days later, Superior Court Judge Lynn Alderman presided over the case in the Lumpkin County courthouse, where the defendants argued that Hulsey was trying to interfere with their right to free speech. But before Alderman could issue a ruling, attorneys for both sides met and decided to negotiate a compromise.

With the latest lawsuit, Rutter said the plaintiffs aren’t really interested in money; they just want a better quality of life. Ultimately, she hopes the legal action will pressure Hulsey to stop operating LHR Farms voluntarily.

"I understand that waste is a fact of life, but if it’s disposed of properly, you shouldn’t have the odors and pollution," she said.

But she’s skeptical that LHR ever will be operated in an environmentally sensitive manner.

"(Hulsey) didn’t follow the consent order he’s already under," she said. "When it’s all said and done, I hope he leaves this county."

On Wednesday morning, Brodrick issued a prepared statement from Hulsey.

"It is unfortunate that a few isolated individuals have filed a lawsuit against LHR Farms," Hulsey wrote.

"The allegations in their complaint are simply not true."

Hulsey accused the plaintiffs of trying to destroy a "model environmentally sustainable agricultural operation."

"We are confident the truth is on our side," he wrote, "and we look forward to offering the facts to an objective body and putting this situation behind us."


According to the Student Housing Action Collective (SHAC), studies done at Melbourne University have shown that as many as 1000 students there could be classified as homeless. Many more are eligible for public housing.

With this in mind a group of students affiliated with SHAC have taken over a university building in protest of the continuing crisis. The property was previously used to house Melbourne University’s counseling service but has been vacant since 2005. All the students are asking is for the university to turn the abandoned property into a low cost housing co-operative. To this end, the students are going to University Council, the highest decision making body, with a concrete proposal for a viable co-op.

Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

SHAC has been campaigning on the issue for months but the University of Melbourne has done nothing to resolve the situation although even University officials admit there is a serious problem.

The vice-chancellor of Melbourne University, Glyn Davis, says 440 students are in effect homeless, "hot-bedding" with relatives or friends because they could not afford their own residence.

Pro Vice-Chancellor at Melbourne University Professor Sue Elliott says it is very difficult for some students and emergency accommodation at the university is always full.

"We used to be able to have students in there for just a period of about two weeks while we found them further, more permanent accommodation," Professor Elliott said.

"But we're having a lot of trouble moving those students into accommodation because the rental costs are so high and the vacancy rate so low."

Students who are not on the streets aren't doing so hot either.

Maddie and Michael both study psychology and science at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

To help save on rent, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports, they have squeezed into one small bedroom in a four room share house in Sydney's inner-west.

"We have five people in a four bedroom house. The rent for the house is about $550," Maddie says.

"My room is about 2.5 - three metres for two people which gets filled up very quickly with desk, beds et cetera.

"One of our flatmates also pays $130 and she lives in a room that's about 1.8 by 2.1metres."

"And all she can fit in is really a desk, a single bed and just her clothes. And she's on Centrelink (Australia's welfare agency) but, and she has to work cash-in-hand to be able to afford to pay the rent and pay the bills."

Michael also receives Centrelink payments as well as earning cash-in-hand because he says living in Sydney is too expensive to survive on just Centrelink.

"The disadvantage of Centrelink is the cap is too low for students, the work, how much you can earn per week," Michael says.

"So it forces students into cash-in-hand jobs where they don't get the rights and protection they really need."

Michael guesses that some 80 per cent of the people in his course still live at home, with some spending two hours a day travelling to and from the university.

His girlfriend Maddie says they were lucky to find affordable accommodation so close to the city.

"Yes, it was really lucky that we got it and the previous tenants hadn't moved out and the real estate agent was desperate. And it was in really bad shape," she said.

"There were cockroaches all through the kitchen and there was an infestation problem and stains and holes and everything."

International students have been hit particularly hard. According to SHAC there is a complete dearth of affordable housing offered by the university to international students. International students receive no information about the crisis before coming to the university and so are unaware of what they will face.

Currently the student squatters have turned the space which they are occupying into a vibrant community hub with a bike workshop, gardening activities, theatre rehearsal space and art gallery.

The following is from the Melbourne (Australia) Herald Sun.

Students barricade vacant uni building calling for low-cost housing

STUDENTS have barricaded a Melbourne University-owned property demanding an end to the student housing crisis.

About 25 members from the Student Housing Action Collective have taken over a property in Faraday St Carlton that has been left vacant since 2005.

The group wants the university to turn the property into a low-cost student housing co-operative.

SHAC spokeswoman Anja Kanngieser said a recent study showed 440 Melbourne University students were effectively homeless, relying on the kindness of friends or others to get a bed at night.

"The problem is there's just not really enough rental properties and rental prices are skyrocketing," she said.

"A lot of students are low income earners and many receive welfare and it's very hard to get affordable rental properties when you're on Centrelink."

She said the crisis was affecting both local and international students and put added pressure on students trying to study and support themselves.

Ms Kanngieser said the group welcomed Melbourne University's future plans for student accommodation but said action needed to be taken now to help struggling students.

"We're in negotiations with the university, but we'll be here as long as it takes for something to happen."


"There is solid evidence that forty to sixty percent of Louisiana's coastal wetlands loss can be traced to oil and gas activities," says Aaron Viles, Campaign Director for the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN). "It is only fair that companies like Shell pay for the cost of the damage they have caused."

With that in mind activists (including the famous "Mr. Bill") presented the Shell Oil Company a bill for $362 million during a demonstration yesterday in New Orleans. According to the GRN, Mr. Bill working with a coalition that included Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Louisiana Bucket Brigade,, the Sierra Club, United Houma Nation, the Alliance for Affordable Energy and of course, Walter Williams, New Orleans Filmmaker, GRN "fired a shot across Shell's bow that even the massive energy corporation can't ignore." The protesters say there is solid evidence that forty to sixty percent of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands loss can be traced to oil and gas activities, and it is only fair that companies like Shell pay for the cost of the damage they have caused.

A press release from those involved in the action stated:

While Shell's fortunes continue to rise, coastal Louisiana's marshes are disappearing at an astounding rate and thus leaving the whole region more vulnerable to future hurricanes. According to records from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Shell Oil has dredged 8.8 million cubic yards of pipeline since 1983. These activities alone have caused the loss of 22,624 acres of wetlands in the last 25 years.

Mr. Bill arrived late (see picture), in a stretch limo that eased up to a stop at One Shell Square, in front of the towering office headquarters of Shell Oil. Flanked by bodyguards and supermodels, he made his way up the street, cameras flashing all around him. He carried with him the bill to be delivered to Shell.

Some took exception to Bill and his posse.

OpEd News reports:

Grumbling was heard from the greens that it was totally inappropriate to be protesting BIG OIL and have Mr. Bill arrive in a gas-guzzling stretch limo. Someone named Lee said that one would expect the Mr. Bill of old to come parachuting out of the sky, and not take such a blatant Hollywood approach.

A drenched feminist named Cathy was incensed that Mr. Bill would lower himself and court the bimbo factor in the form of super models. “Where have the protest tactics of the sixties gone,” she wailed.

Mr. Bill sensed the discontent and refocused attention on his wetlands message. Grasping an “overdue” bill for $361,984,000 in his chubby, clubby white fingers, the Gumby-textured man attacked Shell.

“This does not include their abuses from the previous decades, nor the price tag for the damage, which would not have occurred during Katrina, if our natural hurricane defense, the wetlands, had not been decimated by the oil industry,” Mr. Bill said.

“OH NO, Fix the coast you broke, Shell Oil,” Mr. Bill cried, as he sauntered down Poydras, his arms draped low around the waist of a super model.

Putting aside the controversy surrounding Mr. Bill for a minute, GRN says it believes the current situation in southern Louisiana is relevant to the national debate around expanding offshore drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific Coast. Increased off-shore drilling, GRN believes, would be detrimental to coastal communities, which is clear in the case of Louisiana. The group points out that decades of oil and gas activity along the coast have left the Mississippi River’s once mighty delta a pale comparison of its former glory

The following story is from the Times Picayune.

Protesters call for Shell to pay La. $362 million
Mark Schleifstein

Carrying signs in a driving rainstorm demanding that Shell Oil Co. "fix the coast you broke," about 25 environmental activists on Tuesday attempted to deliver a bill for $362 million to the corporation's New Orleans headquarters.

At a news conference inside the offices of the Gulf Restoration Network, the activists called for Shell to pay the money to the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Trust Fund, where it could be added to other offshore drilling revenue to help rebuild wetlands and build levees.

A Shell spokeswoman defended the company's actions on behalf of coastal restoration, both as the "world sponsor" of the America's WETLAND campaign and through its share of offshore oil revenues paid to the federal government that is passed on to Louisiana.

"Shell believes the best solution to help with coastal preservation and assist the states and community that support oil and gas production is Outer Continental Shelf federal revenue sharing," Shell spokeswoman Darci Sinclair said.

The 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which Shell supported, will provide 37.5 percent of royalty revenue from new leases in federal waters to four Gulf Coast states, including Louisiana.

The $362 million bill was based on a search of state records that indicated Shell has dredged 22,000 acres of wetlands for placement or maintenance of pipeline canals and other oil and gas production facilities since 1983. Such dredging has contributed to erosion of the coast, leaving the region more vulnerable to hurricanes.

"It's in their own self-interest to do this," said filmmaker Walter Williams, the creator of the Mr. Bill clay character. "These projects will protect their oil and gas infrastructure, and without that protection, who knows what their long-term liability will be."

Brenda Dardar-Robichaux, principal chief of the United Houma Nations, said it's long past time for oil companies like Shell to recompense her people for the damage done to both storm protection and fisheries.

Others participating in the demonstration were Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Mike Lane, publisher of, a recreational fishing Web site.

Monday, August 18, 2008


While I was not publishing the Oread Daily last week the long anticipated referendum took place in Bolivia. If you have yet to read much analysis yet, I am offering the following two reports taken from Upside Down World.

Meanwhile today the Bolivian Government says it wants to talk with opposition leaders in Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca departments to reach a national pact The opposition has announced a 24 hour-strike for tomorrow in those departments.

In a press conference at Quemado Palace (government house), Minister of the Presidency Juan Ramon Quintana says that date set for the strike was not coincidence, as "a coup d’ Etat was also staged on August 19 (1971) by late dictator Hugo Banzer."

Quintana warned that those in charge of defending public order and peace will adopt necessary measures tomorrow to prevent a blow to democracy.

Optimism and Uncertainty Follow Bolivian Recall Vote
Written by Alex van Schaick

Cochabamba, Bolivia - President Evo Morales and his Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party won a resounding victory in Bolivia’s Recall Referendum held Sunday, August 10. According to exit polls, more than 60% Bolivian citizens voted "Si" to ratify Morales, a mandate that he hopes will enable the approval of Bolivia’s new draft constitution.

The recall referendum also put eight of Bolivia’s nine departmental prefects (governors) to popular vote. According to exit polls, opposition Prefects Manfred Reyes Villa in Cochabamba and José Luis Paredes in La Paz were trounced at the ballot box, each with only 40 percent support. In Oruro, Alberto Aguilar, one of the two prefects aligned with MAS, may also be revoked.

On the other hand, in Bolivia’s lowlands, where opponents of President Morales have led a movement for "Departmental Autonomy" from the central government, the prefects of Santa Cruz, Beni and Tarija have been approved with large margins of support. It is unclear if Leopoldo Fernández, prefect of the lowland department of Pando, has garnered enough votes to continue in his post.

The referendum did not include Savina Cuéllar, Chuquisaca’s conservative prefect, given she assumed the position only a month ago after a special election.

On a national level, MAS has scored an important victory in reaffirming support for their national agenda, including state recuperation of natural resources, wealth redistribution, agrarian reform, and support for indigenous rights. However, conservative sectors have once again shown their strength in the lowlands and will likely continue to impede the Morales administration at every step of the way.

Ruben Costas, Prefect of Santa Cruz, stated during a vicory speech, "This insensible totalitarian, MASista, incapable government negates the development of the people and only seeks to concentrate power and convert us into its pawns."

In Cochabamba, it remains unclear how the results of the Recall Referendum will play out. Despite his lack of popular support, Manfred Reyes Villa announced in a message Sunday night that he will not recognize the results of the Referendum and carry on his work as prefect.

"We are going to continue doing battle legally against the [Recall Referendum] because someone has to be at the head of the defense of Democracy and Bolivian citizens' rights and obligations and that someone is me," stated the prefect, as quoted in the Cochabamba daily, Opinion.

Since the Senate passed the law convoking the Recall Referendum, Reyes Villa has carried out a legal and media campaign against the referendum on the basis of what he views as its unconstitutionality.

After the results were announced on Sunday night, a crowd of several hundred people gathered outside the prefect’s office in Cochabamba’s principal plaza, shouting "Manfred Out" and "Don’t cry now Manfred!" If Reyes Villa refuses to step down, peasant and left-wing urban organizations will almost certainly mobilize to force him out of office. Such a scenario might lead to a repeat of January 11, 2007, when three people where killed in fights between supporters of Reyes Villa and President Morales.


Bolivia: After Recall Vote, Opposition Rejects Morales’ Call for Unity
Written by Franz Chávez

(IPS) - The opposition in Bolivia plans to redouble its efforts against President Evo Morales, who won strong backing -- 63 percent -- in Sunday’s recall referendum, according to exit polls.

After claiming victory late Sunday, Morales offered to reconcile the new constitution, which is pending ratification in a referendum, with the autonomy statutes approved by voters earlier this year in the eastern provinces of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija.

But opposition leader Santa Cruz Governor Rubén Costas, who was also confirmed in office, vociferously rejected that proposal.

While Morales called for unity between the western highlands provinces, where his main support base lies, and the eastern provinces, Costas said the fact that a majority of voters in the east and in Chuquisaca in the south came out against the president reflected their rejection of "the dictatorship and the draft constitution that is leading to confrontation between brothers and sisters."

The leftist Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, who was elected in December 2005 with 53.7 percent of the vote, is pushing through a reform of the constitution that would give more participation to the country’s impoverished indigenous majority, who mainly live in the highlands.

The changes he has been implementing also include the renationalisation of the natural gas industry and agrarian reform. Most of the country’s natural gas reservers and fertile farmland lie in the eastern lowlands, where the elite who have traditionally ruled the country are opposed to distributing a greater share of the wealth among the western provinces.

The supporters of the governing Movement to Socialism (MAS) who packed the central square in La Paz Sunday night broke out in wild cheers when Morales closed his victory speech with the phrase "the fatherland or death!", to which the crowd responded "venceremos!" (we will overcome).

One thousand kilometres to the east, in the central square in the city of Santa Cruz, followers of the rightwing Costas chanted "independence! independence!" while the governor proclaimed a local victory against "evismo chavista".

With that expression, coined by the opposition, the business leaders, landowners and rightwing groups represented by the conservative Santa Cruz civic committee are implying that Morales’ domestic policies are influenced by his chief foreign ally, Venezuela’s controversial leader Hugo Chávez.

In order to remove Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera, 53.7 percent of voters -- the proportion that originally elected them -- had to cast their ballots against them in Sunday’s referendum.

For their part, the eight provincial governors whose positions were also on the line in Sunday’s referendum needed to win at least 50 percent support.

Political analysts pointed out that Morales enjoys high levels of support only in the provinces of La Paz (81 percent), Oruro (81 percent), Potosí (79 percent) and Cochabamba (71 percent).

By contrast, he and the vice president achieved the backing of only 39 percent of voters in Santa Cruz, 43 percent in Beni, 49 percent in Pando, 47 percent in Tarija and 46 percent in Chuquisaca, according to the local television station Unitel.

The preliminary results also indicate that La Paz Governor José Luis Paredes will have to step down, after 57 percent of voters came out against him on Sunday.

Voters thus expressed their disapproval of the unstable conduct of the veteran opposition politician, who has wavered between taking an independent stance and making clear statements in favour of provincial autonomy and influential groups in the pro-autonomy provinces, not to mention the performance of his administration, which the central government labels corrupt.

In Cochabamba, rightwing Governor Manfred Reyes Villa was rejected by 60 percent of voters, including coca growers, who support Morales, their long-time leader.

One Morales ally also lost his post in Sunday’s vote: Oruro Governor Alberto Aguilar, who was rejected by 54 percent of voters.

In Santa Cruz, Costas interpreted the 66 percent support that he won as clear backing for the autonomy process that he is leading along with the governors of Beni, Pando and Tarija.

Costas announced the creation of a provincial security body parallel to the police, a provincial tax collection agency and an office to coordinate the transfer of natural gas revenues to the rest of the provinces, in the place of the Finance Ministry, whose role that is.

Among the most popular opposition governors is Mario Cossío of Tarija who, in the face of predictions that he would lose, won 64 percent support.

The governor of Beni, Ernesto Suárez, meanwhile, took 61 percent of the vote, while Pando Governor Leopoldo Fernández won 56 percent.

Morales ally Mario Virreina, governor of Potosí, was surprised by his own landslide victory: 75 percent.


The government of Peru suspended civil liberties following clashes between indigenous Peruvians and police. The action is taking place in remote jungle regions where Indian groups are blocking highways and oil and gas installations.

The protests and blockades have followed the accusation by a Peruvian indigenous association which accused the Peruvian government last week of violating the rights of the native communities in the Amazon with laws that favour foreign oil companies. The recently signed Free Trade Agreement with the United States and a number of draft laws in the legislature all allow for the easy commercial exploitation of indigenous territories

The indigenous groups argue that industrial activities in the Amazon region threaten their homelands. They only resorted to protests after talks failed to secure a reversal of the government's decision to develop the area.

President Alan García has ordered the army to put an end to the occupations, and there has already been a fierce confrontation between protesters and police.

The Indians are not backing down.

"If the government does not listen to our demands, the indigenous people are determined to continue until they are listened to," said Alberto Pizango, president of the Inter-ethnic Association Against the Development of the Peruvian Forest.

APTN News reports the Inter-ethnic Association the Development of the Peruvian Forest blamed this situation on the Free Trade Agreement recently signed between the government and the US.

"The government is taking advantage of the legislative powers given by the congress to implement the Free Trade Agreement to dictate more than 38 decrees - all unconstitutional - against the right to life and against the territories of the indigenous people and native communities of the Amazon," said Pizango.

24 Horas Libre says a significant clash occurred on Sunday in the district of Aramango (Bagua, Amazon) between police and Indians. The battle began when police attempted to push demonstrators away from the intake water channel of a hydroelectric plant which provides electric power to the provinces of Bagua and Utcubamba. The clash left eight policemen and four Indians injured.

Today, the protesters continue to demand the restoration of their inalienable collective rights over their land. The government insists it will not negotiate until the protests end.

Environment Minister Antonio Brack said protesters have closed a bridge and highway "and threatened to cut the supply of oil via the oil pipeline and gas through the Camisea gas pipeline." He says the government cannot allow this to continue.

The former president of the Peruvian Congress, Mercedes Cabanillas told La Republica (Lima) that the blockade of gas or oil for the operation of basic services is a serious crime. He indicated that the government will figure out who is behind it all and will take appropriate action against them.

The government today has threatened to send in the army. Reuters is reporting the government issued a decree for the provinces of Cusco, Loreto and Amazonas, allowing it to order the armed forces to disperse protesters.

Why is all this happening?

According to Radio Netherlands an area of 92,000 square kilometres in the Amazon Basin has been designated for development. Economists estimate that the oil, timber and other forestry products in the region are worth about 3.5 billion dollars.
Just got to get those damn Indians out of the way.

The following is from Prensa Latina.

Peru, Natives' Protest Ends in Crisis

Lima, Aug 18 (Prensa Latina) In view of the protests of 60 ethnic groups from the Amazonian jungle against official decrees, the Peruvian government declared three provinces and one municipality in state of emergency on Monday.

According to a resolution published in the official journal El Peruano, the state of emergency was declared to keep the peace after at least nine people were injured during some encounters between the police and the natives.

The measure provides the suspension of constitutional rights which prevents the exercise of certain rights like the freedom of assembly and movement, and gives the police authority to arrest and carry out raids without a warrant.

The state of emergency comprises the provinces of Bagua and Utcubamba, the north of the Amazon and Datem del Marañon, Loreto in the west, and the municipality of Echarate in the southern region of Cuzco.

The incident between the Awajun ethnic group and the police in Muyo, Bagua, was preceded by the government decision of disregarding the natives' demand of meeting with Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo instead of with Minister on Environment Antonio Brack.

The talks had begun on Friday in San Lorenzo but the members of AIDESEP (Interethnic Peruvian Jungle Development Association) interrupted them because the minister had no rank to make decisions.

President of AIDESEP Luis Pizango said the government had to cancel the decrees that affect the rights of the natives to land and the environment, and which answer to free trade agreements with the United States.