Category Archives: Winter 2000 (11/9/00)

Shut It Down!

Tens of thousands to prevent third Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada, April 20-22, 2001

Activists throughout the western hemisphere are gearing up for massive, militant protests to shut down the Third Summit of the Americas, which will be held April 20-22, 2001 in Quebec City, Canada. The Summit will involve the heads of state of all 34 countries in the Americas except Cuba and is organized to promote corporate domination and increased corporate trade in the Americas. The main priority of the Summit is to complete negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which is designed to extend NAFTA over the entire Western Hemisphere.

Even months before Quebec, indications are that Quebec may make Seattle look small by comparison. A lot has happened since Seattle:

The corporate/government elite, realizing that it was going to be a little harder than they thought to eliminate local control on a global scale through the stroke of a backroom, secret pen, are looking for other options aside from the World Trade Organization. Instead, they are emphasizing \”regional\” trade pacts with most of the same features sought in Seattle.

The FTAA, which the Organization of American States wants to have fully implemented by 2005, is a stronger version of NAFTA, applied to the entire hemisphere. If agreed by leaders of the western hemisphere, the FTAA would break down \”barriers to trade\” like pesky environmental and labor regulations and social programs for the poor. \”Free\” trade rules would permit transnational corporations to find the cheapest possible labor and materials regardless of attempts at local regulation by people in any particular place.

The resulting \”race to the bottom\” has already severely hurt subsistence farmers and workers in Mexico, who under NAFTA have been subject to wild swings of the market and the will of transnational corporate factory owners. Lower skill workers in the US and Canada, meanwhile, are laid off, unable to compete with the cheap labor to the South. Unchallenged corporate control over the environment, which they call \”natural resources,\” ensures nature\’s exploitation and destruction. The net effect: increase the power of unaccountable corporations, stick it to the poor, weaken local, democratic control over our lives, trash the planet.

Corporate controlled leaders hope to accomplish all of this largely without public participation, or even public notice, by approving the FTAA at the Third Summit of the Americas.

Activists opposing corporate domination know how to throw an appropriate party for events like the Summit of the Americas. Canadian activists in Montreal have called for a \”Carnival Against Capitalism\” during the meeting including teach-ins, conferences, workshops, concerts, cabarets, street theater, protests and direct action. The \”Basis of Unity\” for the Carnival is explicitly anti-capitalist, decentralized and non-hierarchical, permitting a diversity of tactics and encouraging militant confrontation instead of reformist lobbying (see sidebar). They have invited people from all corners of the hemisphere to come to Quebec City to prevent the Summit from taking place. Predictably, Summit organizers are promising to mount the largest security operation in Canadian history, with thousands of police brought in to smash dissent.

To get involved, contact CLAC, 2035 St-Laurent Boulevard, 2nd floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2X 2T3, Canada, 514-526-8946, clac@tao.ca, www.quebec2001.net. If you\’re in Montreal, go to a general assembly of CLAC at 7 p.m. on November 21 or December 13 at L\’X, 182, Ste-Catherine East, metro Berri-UQAM. There is preliminary discussion about organizing a caravan from the San Francisco Bay Area that would travel first to Central America to make connections with sweatshop workers, farmers and opponents of globalization there, and then take those connections, information developed in the South, and perhaps some Central American representatives on a North American speaking tour to bring people to Quebec. As capitalism goes global, so too must resistance to capitalism!

Freedom On Trial

The legal nightmare that followed the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, in which 420 people were arrested and held for up to 2 weeks in appalling conditions on unprecedentedly high bail ($20,000 for minor charges and up to $1 million for some defendants), has now moved into a horrendous situation in Philadelphia\’s Courts. Prosecutors are seeking to \”throw the book\” at 22 activists charged with felonies as well as hundreds of other non-violent demonstrators, and in response, hundreds are engaged in \”court solidarity\”-clogging the court system by demanding jury trials. The idea behind court solidarity is two fold: protect those charged with felonies, at the RNC punishable by years in jail, and remind the world that Philadelphia is in the middle of one big political trial.

\”There\’s a real consciousness on the part of most misdemeanor defendants with keeping solidarity strong with those facing harsher felony charges. The RNC 420 trials won\’t be over till the last felony case is dropped,\” noted a member of the R2K legal collective. All court hearings have been turned into political events, with rallies, puppets and demonstrators outside, and misdemeanor defendants inside disrupting the court proceedings by reading lengthy political statements to the court, sporting defiant statements on their clothes, pumping fists of power and cheering in solidarity with other defendants. In response, the police have harassed those on the street and the trial court judge has imposed a ban on statements being read in Court. Many defendants have attended Court with their mouths duct taped shut in protest of the judge\’s order.

The legal situation in Phili is a stark example of how threatened the system feels by the resurgence in mass, militant protest tactics since Seattle-and the lengths the system will go to break our movement and our spirits. The police response-and now the legal response-has treated protesters as the highest order of dangerous criminals. The fact that most are charged with minor infractions usually punished with a slap of the wrist-if at all-makes no difference. The response from the defendants is a powerful example of how to fight back.

The government wants to prevent any future protests by teaching radicals a lesson in Philadelphia. It is critical that the comrades resisting this oppression most directly-those fighting legal battles over the RNC-get the support from the radical community they deserve.

At this point, 220 misdemeanor defendants have requested jury trials to tie up the system. 110 others accepted a deal whereby they will pay a $300 fine, have six months probation and have the charge expunged from their record. Many of those forced by their life circumstances to accept the deal are providing solidarity and support to the remaining defendants.

Originally, defendants hoped to have 220 individual trials, but the Court granted a prosecution motion to consolidate many of the trials. About 12 misdemeanor trials will be of groups of defendants arrested together. Another 30 will have individual trials.

The legal defense is being organized by the R2K legal collective. According to one member, \”within this collective the defendants themselves decide what strategies and paths to follow. A good deal of our lawyers say we\’re crazy for some of our choices, but the point here is to keep the power in our hands and as much as possible not allow manipulation by lawyers or non-defendant entities. That doesn\’t mean the defendants don\’t listen at length to advice by lawyers and others involved in our support and defense.\”

The legal defense desperately needs funds to wage the large scale legal campaign in which they are engaged.

Send money (the main thing the legal defense needs) to the following folks: Philadelphia Direct Action Group, PO Box 40683, Philadelphia., PA 19107-0683, 215-701-7311, www.thepartysover.org. Make tax deductible checks to NSEF. The legal defense fund is requesting that people organize benefits nation-wide for RNC legal defense.

Taking Protest to your Plate

Each year, thousands of people choose to adopt a vegan diet – a diet free of all animal products. While veganism is a lifestyle choice, it is also a powerful boycott against some of the world\’s largest and most entrenched institutions: corporate farms that produce more than half of the country\’s food, global financial institutions that require countries to feed only the wealthy, meatpacking plants that have the highest injury rates of any industry, stockyards that pollute the poorest neighborhoods, and corporate media that censor public health advisories. Veganism is at heart a boycott against the old and destructive belief that profits are more important than human and non-human welfare. Likewise veganism should be seen as an essential part of our work for social justice. As a movement, we should begin our work by taking the protest to our plates.

Corporations

Animal agriculture is an enormous industry. In 1999, more than 9 billion farm animals were slaughtered and packaged in the U.S. alone. Last year, the U.S. produced more than $25 billion in beef, $20 billion in milk, $15 billion in chicken, $7 billion in pork, and $5 billion in eggs. Likewise, animal agriculture is made up of some of the richest companies in the country, many of which have virtual monopolies in their industries. Currently, only four companies account for: 42% of all turkey production , 49% of all chicken production , 57% of all U.S. pork slaughterhouses , and 79% of all beef-packing. And just 1% of all feedlots in the U.S. feed 55% of the country\’s cattle. The animal industry, in turn, depends upon three transnational companies to supply most of its animal feed: ADM, Cargill, and ConAgra.

As a result of its alliances with the transnational feed companies, animal production has effectively destroyed family farms in the U.S. Small grain farms cannot compete with the giant feed companies that are supported every year by the hundred billion-dollar animal industry. And small animal farms cannot match the economy-of-scale of animal \’factory farms,\’ where animals are placed in inhumane conditions for the sake of efficiency. Bernard Rollin, Ph.D., explains that it is \”more economically efficient to put a greater number of birds into each cage, accepting lower productivity per bird but greater productivity per cage…individual animals may \’produce,\’ for example gain weight, in part because they are immobile, yet suffer because of the inability to move…Chickens are cheap, cages are expensive.\” So-called \’free range\’ farms are little better — merely corporate factory farms with a small outdoor yard, usually impossible for animals to reach. As a result, an American consumer can almost never buy animal products without supporting the corporate farms, multinational seed companies, and animal agriculture monopolies that keep family farms out of business.

The federal government hasn\’t helped small farmers either. Animal agriculture is one of the richest beneficiaries of corporate welfare in the U.S. Thanks to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, taxpayer money is used to buy $500 million in animal products for National School Lunch Programs and other public assistance programs every year. Although many of these animal products are believed to contribute to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and a number of other health problems, they continue to be distributed to public programs across the country. Why? The federal board that produces the U.S. Dietary Guidelines is made up of 11 members, 6 of whom have links with the meat, dairy, or egg industries. The committee chairman has worked for the National Dairy Council, Dannon, and Nestle — a classic conflict of interest demonstrating how corporate and governmental interests can become synonymous.

Globalization and World Hunger

Animal products are a centerpiece in the globalization of agriculture. The increasing demand for animal products in the U.S. and abroad has fueled the import/export agriculture system. Through the WTO and other liberal trade policies, the U.S. and other high-income countries (HICs) have found new markets for their animal products by exporting to low-income countries (LICs), where only the wealthiest can afford them. At the same time, these exports have encouraged LICs to switch from a largely self-sufficient plant-based agriculture to a largely import-export animal-based agriculture. In the last decade alone, per capita meat consumption doubled in LICs. This has increased many LICs\’ demand for animal feed, which has of course benefited large U.S. grain merchants that export grain at highly subsidized prices.

How did this trend emerge? After World War II, the United States became the model of economic prosperity for much of the Third World, and animal agriculture became one of the symbols of its affluence. For the poor, meat, milk, and eggs symbolized entry into the middle class. For poor nations, they symbolized entry into the industrialized world. As the editors of Farm Journal observed, \”Enlarging and diversifying their meat supply appears to be a first step for every developing country. They all start by putting in modern broiler and egg production facilities — the fastest and cheapest way to produce nonplant protein. Then as rapidly as their economies permit, they climb \’the protein ladder\’ to pork, milk, and dairy products, to grass-fed beef, and finally, if they can, to grain-finished beef.\”

Many developing nations began the climb at the height of the \’green revolution.\’ In 1971, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report encouraging developing countries with surplus grain to develop a market in animal feed. In countries where rice was the dominant crop, FAO promoted increased production of grains, which can be more easily used for animal feed. The U.S. provided further encouragement in its foreign aid programs, tying food aid to the development of feed grain markets. The U.S. even gave companies like Ralston Purina and Cargill low-interest government loans to start poultry operations in developing countries, to help them up the ladder.

This was just the kind of help American companies wanted. As Americans\’ own per-capita consumption of beef, pork, and eggs was declining because of health concerns, U.S. companies were looking for markets abroad. There were simply more customers to be found in the LICs. As Dan Glickman, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, put it, \”World population is growing faster than ever. Rising incomes in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe are translating into more money for food and an increasingly Western palate, including an increased appetite for animal products . . . We should see the world for what it is — 96% of our potential consumer base.\”

Corporate marketing strategies were aided by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) policies that pushed many LICs to invest in local livestock production. Countries like the Philippines, Egypt, and India received loans to develop animal industries, which corporations hoped would cultivate a local taste for future American animal products and grain imports. The strategy worked. From 1970 to 1990, livestock production in the Philippines and Egypt increased more than 50%. During the same period in India, local milk and egg consumption tripled. But only the rich could afford to buy these products. Products that couldn\’t be sold locally were exported to rich countries, where consumers could pay a higher price. In India, where more than half of the population lives on $1 per day, and more than half of all children under 5 suffer malnutrition, the government pushed to increase meat exports more than twenty-fold.

Perhaps most astonishing is that in 1984, when thousands of Ethiopians were dying each day from famine, the public was unaware that at the very same time, Ethiopia was using much of its prime agricultural land to produce grains for export to feed livestock in the United Kingdom and other European nations. The 1984 famine was not a result of food shortages, as such, but of the shift from food to animal feed.

Since 1984, food grain deficits have struck many other countries and forced them to import grain from American companies — often using development loans that increased their debt to Western banks and development agencies. Egypt, for instance, imported eight million tons of grain in 1990 and fed 36% of it to livestock. A dramatic shift from having been self-sufficient in grain during 1970, with only 10% of the grain fed to livestock.

The irony is, most LICs would not need any imports were they growing plants instead of raising animals. In fact, almost all would be able to feed their entire country if they switched back from import-export animal agriculture to their more efficient plant-based agriculture. But the import-export animal agriculture suits U.S. grain companies, two-thirds of whose exports now go to feed livestock in other countries.

It also suits agricultural landlords who, due to the increased demand for land to grow feed, can now charge outrageous rents. Many of the world\’s malnourished are tenant farmers who rent the land they work. The increasing demand for animal feed has led to increased rents that only corporate granaries can afford. As a result, growing numbers of farmers are landless and unable to feed their families. As the Worldwatch Institute reported, \”Higher meat consumption among the affluent frequently creates problems for the poor, as the share of farmland devoted to feed cultivation expands, reducing production of food staples. In the economic competition for grain fields, the upper classes usually win.\”

Throughout the Third World, livestock production is monopolizing the best land, undermining the local food supply, and barring the efforts of citizens to become food self-reliant. The trend continues to this day. The WTO, USAID, and development banks increase the trade in animal products, while U.S. corporations continue to reap the benefits.

Environmental Justice

Animal agriculture is among the dirtiest industries on the planet. The United Nations\’ Food and Agriculture Organization has linked animal agriculture to the contamination of aquatic ecosystems, soil, and drinking water by manure, pesticides, and fertilizers; acid rain from ammonia emissions; greenhouse gas production; and depletion of aquifers for irrigation.

As with most industries, factory farms and slaughterhouses are ordinarily located in poorer communities, where citizens do not have the political power to protect themselves from pollution. Of particular concern in these communities is manure pollution. As the number of animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs has skyrocketed, so has the amount of animal waste. Manure contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which lead to algal blooms when in waterways and lakes. These blooms deplete oxygen, kill fish, and destroy ecosystems. Manure also contaminates groundwater; in areas around factory farms, as many as one-third of all drinking wells don\’t meet EPA safe drinking water standards for nitrate.

In addition to being dirty, animal agriculture is also inefficient. Every year, 70% of the U.S. grain harvest is fed to farmed animals. Eating animal products thus requires growing more grain for animal feed, which, in turn, means using more genetically-engineered crops, more pesticides, more synthetic fertilizers, and more petroleum. Animal agriculture\’s dependence on higher yields accelerates topsoil erosion on farms, rendering land less productive for crop cultivation and forcing the conversion of wilderness to grazing and farmlands.

At a time when population and consumption pressures have become an increasing stress on the environment, the inefficiency of animal agriculture has sparked widespread concern. The grain and soybeans used in the production of meat consumed annually by one average American could instead be used to feed 7 people for a year. UN projections have estimated that the 1992 food supply could have fed about 3.2 billion people on a 75% vegetarian diet, 4.2 billion people on a 85% vegetarian diet, or 6.3 billion people on a purely vegetarian diet.

Labor

Few places are more dangerous than factory farms and slaughterhouses. Conveyor \’kill lines\’ are cranked to run up to 140 animals per minute. On the job, workers are exposed to a variety of toxins, allergens, and diseases found only in decaying animals. Because of increased production, repetitive motion injuries — such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis — have increased 10-fold in slaughterhouses during the past 15 years. It should be little surprise, then, that animal agriculture workers have the single highest injury rate of those in any U.S. industry. Injuries among poultry workers are three times the national average; among beef-packing workers, ten times the national average. 36% of beef-packing workers sustain serious injuries each year.

Along with hazardous working conditions, the U.S. Department of Labor has documented widespread violations of workers\’ rights in animal production. These include routine violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, failure to pay overtime for hours worked, and monies deducted from workers\’ paychecks for clothing and protective gear which the companies are supposed to provide.

Frequent injuries and low wages (poultry workers, for instance, earn $7.45/hr on average — only 63% of the average wage for manufacturing industries ) have kept the turnover-rates high in most farms and slaughterhouses. Meatpacking plants generally have the highest turnover rates of any U.S. industry. In poultry plants, an annual turnover of 100% is considered low. In many plants, turnover is as high as 400% annually. Such high turnover helps companies to keep unions from developing. In turn, companies have turned increasingly to exploit immigrant workers, who are ill-prepared to assert their legal rights, and are thus ideal workers for the dangerous conditions. In 1996, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) estimated that one-quarter of all meatpacking workers in Iowa and Nebraska were non-citizen immigrants. ,

Public Health and the Media

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. 70% of heart disease cases are associated with the intake of cholesterol, a substance found only in animal products. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., with 35-60% of cancer cases believed to be linked with diet — particularly high-fat, low-fiber diets representative of animal products. The American Dietetic Association has linked the consumption of animal products with increased risks for a number of other debilitating conditions, including osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, and obesity.

Why haven\’t we heard more about these and other health problems associated with animal products? When the dairy industry alone spends more than $300 million each year to advertise the \’health benefits\’ of milk, the mass media are not likely to air stories that suggest animal products are actually bad for your health. For example, in 1997, two Fox TV reporters investigated the links between cancer and bovine growth hormones (BGH), a chemical found in most milk. Upon learning that the story was likely to be aired, lawyers from Monsanto (a producer of BGH and an advertiser on Fox) pressured the network not to air the story and to dismiss the reporters. When the reporters protested, they were fired by Fox. Similar pressures by animal industries have kept a tight leash on the reporting of salmonella poisoning, \’Mad Cow Disease,\’ and the general dietary risks associated with animal foods.

Human liberation and animal liberation

Lastly, there is the treatment of animals in animal agriculture. Today\’s farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where an animal\’s welfare is of little concern compared to profit. Each year in the U.S., more than 9 billion animals are caged, drugged, mutilated, and slaughtered for food. Each one of these animals is treated more like a machine than a living creature capable of experiencing pain.

Why should this concern us? Historically, human societies have extended the reach of their ethical considerations — first beyond family and tribe; later beyond religion, race, gender, and nation; and eventually beyond species. To bring other animals into our ethics may seem as absurd now as abolition or women\’s suffrage did 200 years ago. But some day it will seem an obvious extension of compassion and respect to treat animals as sentient beings, deserving of our consideration. As Alice Walker, civil rights activist and author of The Color Purple has stated, \”The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.\”

Americans\’ increased appetite for animal products has made things worse for all of us. The good news is, we do not need to sacrifice our work on other issues to make a gradual change in our diet. As the philosopher Peter Singer has written, \”Those who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for those reasons alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people everywhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests . . . [W]hen non-vegetarians say that \’human problems come first,\’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.\”

Likewise, a broad range of human rights, animal protection, environmental justice, labor, consumer, and family farm activists are realizing that we share a common foe — animal agriculture. These activists are making a concrete difference by progressing toward a vegan diet. Many start by reducing their consumption of meats. But the same corporations, import/export policies, pollution, and social injustices involved in meat production are also involved in dairy and egg production. Giving up meat is a good start, but not enough. A vegan diet, free of all products from the corporate animal industries, is one of the most effective protests we can make against corporate farming, globalization, labor abuse, environmental degradation, corporate journalism, and the callous indifference to both human and animal suffering. Every time we eat we have an opportunity to take the protest to our plates.

For more information, contact:

Vegan Action

PO Box 4353

Berkeley CA, 94704

(510) 548-7377

info@vegan.org

www.vegan.org

Judy Foster: 1932-2000

Judy Foster, our friend and comrade, died October 8, 2000, at the age of 68. She was a teacher, cook, activist, mother and grandmother. She was a poet, an astrologer, and a founding member of a vibrant wiccan order. Judy stayed present in important struggles with people of all generations, with her hard work and her wisdom.

Born Judith Ann Isquith on November 2, 1932 in Brooklyn, New York, she grew up in a Brooklyn brownstone and at a farm house in New Jersey among her brothers, cousins, and friends. She attended Oberlin College from 1950 to 1955, studying music and then primary school teaching. A college administrator admonished her unconventional dress and lifestyle, which she believed would make her an unfit role model for children.

Undeterred, as a schoolteacher Judy moved to New York City where she was a Beatnik on the Lower East Side. Her apartment was the center of a concentrated group of friends and an active, absorbing social life rich with art, politics and folk music. It was a time of black tights, sandals, long hair, and grass.

By 1960 Judy had moved to San Francisco and was involved in direct action with a small, politically active group of friends, protesting against the death penalty. She met and fell in love with Charlie Foster whom she described as a \”shaman / poet / madman/ visionary.\” She continued to teach, travel, read and write poetry. She dropped acid for the first time in 1964. She traveled and lived in Mexico, New York, the Bay Area, and rural California. She had two daughters. In 1967 Charlie Foster died.

In 1969 Judy helped found the Frogg House, an early, successful, and enduring communal house in Berkeley. In the early 70\’s Judy and her close group of friends started and ran the People\’s Free Community School. She was active during the birth of People\’s Park and was tear-gassed. She was involved in the Free University, and the Food Conspiracy.

In the 80\’s the resistance took aim at the nuclear industry and the war machine, and Judy was active in the Nuclear Freeze movement and the Livermore Action Group (LAG). She went to many Livermore demonstrations. (Livermore blockade, Site 300). She was always there, doing the work.

After the Gulf War in 1992 she became active in East Bay Food Not Bombs, soon becoming a central force and matriarchal inspiration for the group. Tuesday Food Not Bombs lunch was well known for the gourmet specialties that came out of her kitchen. Judy worked hard and constantly to feed the community both good food and good spirit. She cooked, picked up, stored and sorted, served and enjoyed food with her community.

Judy worked as a cook at The Creative Living Center (among other places) and had her own catering business, \”A Movable Feast\”, which served many amazing events. Judy traveled to the WTO protest in Seattle and worked hard to feed the protesters. She was on the People\’s Park Advisory Board for four years. She also had a long-standing show on Free Radio Berkeley, \”Judy\’s Mixed Bag\”. Judy studied and taught astrology and made astrological chart necklaces. She loved to sing.

She enjoyed many flavors of people, and she was a vibrant part of many communities. She enjoyed intelligent conversation and connecting with people. She feared little.

She was diagnosed with Primary Liver Cancer in 1997 and was active until Saturday October 7, when she spent the day out with friends. She died at home among her family and friends and Sunday, October 8th, 2000.

She will be loved and missed by her two daughters, three grandchildren, three brothers and a very large community of people who she touched in her caring. Judy rocked!

By Terri Compost

Good-bye Judy. May we feel the strength of you presence in every act of love made by our strong arms and caring wills. You have stood firm in our community, deep roots, a solid trunk and beautiful dancing limbs. You inspire us with your truth and your daily commitment to live our dreams. You have been giving and receiving of the beauty you see in many of us souls. Thank you for showing us and bringing us together. You will be remembered long. Blessings dear one. May you travel on in Peace.

Communique

On Monday August first, during the republican national convention, in the city of Philadelphia, I was arrested along with one other brother in a preemptive strike ostensibly aimed at those, like myself, who intended to protest the U.S. social/political system through means of direct and uncompromising action later that day.

While walking down the sidewalk downtown, we were surrounded by 10 to 15 bike cops and soon after put into custody at the \”Roundhouse\” jail complex. This all occurred an hour and a half prior to any known acts of civil disobedience, street fighting, corporate/private property destruction of legal demonstrations.

At the roundhouse I was charged with 1.) possession of instruments of crime and 2.) possession of instruments of crime, conspiracy. My bail was eventually set at $10,000 (sob) and on Wednesday August 3 I was turned out pending further court hearings despite the fact that I refused to sign my release forms.

My court date is set for September 16. By the time this communiqué is made public, I will already have refused to appear and a bench warrant will have been issued for my arrest.

I am a revolutionary anarchist.

As such, I do not recognize the authority of the State of Pennsylvania judicial system, I refuse to appear before them in order to plead my \”innocence\”. In addition to being absurd, such an act would confer a recognition of legitimacy upon them which I refuse to give. Besides, the court system is simply a tool of the State, and as such it too is my sworn enemy. Therefore, my necessary relations to it will never be and can never be that of \”innocence\”. To state it plainly, I am GUILTY. GUILTY of working towards the destruction of that very same court system which seeks to place judgment on me and others. GUILTY of working towards the absolute demise of the whole life-denying State apparatus. GUILTY of dreaming of a liberated world where wo/men\’s consciousness and material relations will at last be free to develop creatively in a society of love, equality, abundance and direct participatory democracy. In a word, all I am willing to confer to Pennsylvania, the Federal Government, as well as any and all authoritarian, bureaucratic and innately oppressive STATES is the absolute hatred and rejection that all exploited people feel and know towards their natural enemies.

However, let it be known that my hatred runs only as deep as my love for humanity and the dream of complete Social Revolution.

Therefore, I have come to the decision to continue my small role in the ongoing social and political revolution by semi-underground means.

From struggle comes victory and dignity. Strength and courage to the Black Bloc.

From somewhere in the New American Dawn. David. FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL

Letters

Dear Slingshot,

I found your rag inside Growers Market. According to your \”Circulation Information\” blurb, the enclosed check should be good for eight issues sent via bulk mail.

I know this is going to sound like one of those statements that begin, \”I\’m no women\’s libber but¼\” or \”I\’m not gay but¼\” I\’m not an anarchist but you anarchists give me a little hope for the future. I\’ve worked with plenty anarchists in my life. I know John Zerzan¾I can talk to him scholar to scholar. He didn\’t get all defensive when I told him I thought people would still want a postal service. Sure, you could still have letters without a postal service, but did you read in Lord of The Rings how Gandalf tried to send a letter to the shire and it never arrived?

Hey, what do you mean \”No Poetry\”?! So poetry can\’t be part of the \”debate, discussion and criticism\”? As¼punishment (severe but deserved) I\’ve written a poem just for you:

Those Darn Anarchists

Those darn anarchists,

Breaking windows,

Creating more profits

For the capitalist

Window glass barons,

Who can thus

Go on consuming

The planet.

Those darn anarchists

Are just like

The guerrillas in Colombia,

Who contribute

To global warming

Every time

They fire their weapons.

Plus that Slingshot rag

Must kill

A lot of trees.

              –Milton Takei

Basis of Unity

La Convergence Des Luttes Anti-Capitalistes

(translation from the French)

1. The Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC in French) is opposed to capitalism. We fundamentally reject a social and economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and exchange. We reject a system driven by an exploitative logic that sees human beings as human capital, ecosystems as natural resources, and culture as simply a commodity. We reject the idea that the world is only valuable in terms of profit, competition and efficiency.

2. The CLAC also rejects the ideology of neo-liberalism, whereby corporations and investors are exempt from all political and social measures that interfere with their so-called \”success\”.

3. The CLAC is anti-imperialist, opposed to patriarchy, and denounces all forms of exploitation and oppression. We assert a worldview based on the respect of our differences and the autonomy of groups, individuals and peoples. Our objective is to globalize our networks of resistance to corporate rule.

4. Respecting a diversity of tactics, the CLAC supports the use of a variety of creative initiatives, ranging between public education campaigns to direct action.

5. The CLAC is autonomous, decentralized and non-hierarchical. We encourage the involvement of anyone who accepts this statement of principles. We also encourage the participation of all individuals in working groups, in accord with their respective political affiliations.

6. With regards to the Summit of the Americas (April 2001) and the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the CLAC adopts a confrontational attitude and rejects reformist alternatives such as lobbying which cannot have a major impact on anti-democratic processes. We intend to shut down the Summit of the Americas and to turn the FTAA negotiations into a non-event.

Buy Nothing Day

Shut down the Streets of

San Francisco:

Noon, Nov. 24, Union Square!

Buy Nothing Day-November 24 this year gathering at noon in Union Square, SF-will see a new level of creative confrontation in an attempt to counter consumerism. A variety of activists and groups, including Reclaim the Streets, are hoping to disrupt the shopping district of downtown San Francisco at the height of the busiest shopping day of the year-replacing traffic and consumption with dancing and chaos.

The idea for Buy Nothing Day (BND) was hatched by Adbusters magazine. Their website notes \”Buy Nothing Day is a simple idea with deep implications. It forces us to think about the \’shop-till-you-drop\’ imperative and its effects on the rest of the world. On Buy Nothing Day enjoy a break from the shopping frenzy. Relish your power as a consumer to change the economic environment.\” (Emphasis added.) This last sentence, implying that simply by not purchasing (or perhaps buying the \”right thing\”?) \”consumers\” have \”power\” makes clear the politically confused nature of Buy Nothing Day.

Unchallenged, the myth of consumer activism risks obscuring, not exposing, the capitalist economic organization of society. This Buy Nothing Day in San Francisco will be a chance to make the connections and attack the real author of environmental destruction and human suffering-not merely the consumers who buy sweatshop products and who over-consume, but the corporations who design a world where reckless consumption is sculpted, choreographed, pre-determined. These corporations structure sweatshops and unsustainable resource extraction. These corporations spend billions on advertising to program individual humans to define themselves through what they consume.

At best, San Francisco\’s BND will be an opportunity to bring masses of people into the streets to creatively, lovingly and artfully disrupt business as usual. Dropping out from the consumer monster isn\’t the answer: vigorously tearing up a class society where a few own and rule and the majority do the work is more like it!

Disrupt Shopping as Usual

For a special celebration this Buy Nothing Day . . . STOP THE SHOPPING at the starting gun of the annual ad-fueled buying frenzy of the holiday season.

By disrupting shopping and actually (hopefully) preventing the exchange of money for goods, we hope that shoppers will wonder why all this passion, effort, and creativity were aimed at making their shopping day unsuccessful. Maybe they will think about how they got out of the shop without any purchases-and still survived to enjoy life. Maybe they will think about how they could do without all the hassle of the holiday season. Or, maybe they will think about how much of a pain it is to go shopping nowadays, what with all these pesky anarchist actions going on all the time, and they\’d rather stay in their own neighborhoods and hang out with their loved ones. And if that\’s the case, isn\’t it worth it for us to push them to make these conclusions? We\’d be irresponsible if we did it any other way. Now, get out there and have fun with your friends making this a true buy nothing day. Make it happen at such lovely places as the Gap, Banana Republic, Macys, Nordstroms, the Microsoft Store, etc. For possible ideas, support, and coordination of actions, contact rts_eastbay@yahoo.com, 415 820-9658.

Victoria, BC Cancels 2001 NATO Meeting

Police warn city is too close to Eugene, Orgeon

Victoria won\’t be transformed into a war zone after all.

From Oct. 11 to 15 next year, 600 delegates from the defense ministries of 35 member-countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were to converge on quaint Victoria, presumably at the city\’s Conference Centre behind the Empress Hotel.

Not any more.

Mayor Allan Lowe requested over $3 million from the federal government to cover anticipated policing costs. Where the feds balked on the request, the Mayor as the M.P. to pull the plug. \”The security of our community and its financial well-being is the priority,\” Lowe said.

The new site of the conference remains a mystery.

The decision to request federal funds was made \”in light of the recent experiences of other North American cities who have hosted \’globalization\’ conferences, and who have incurred significant costs as a result,\” Lowe said.

Const. Paul Battershill, head of the Victoria Police Department, submitted a report highlighting four international conferences that were targeted by \”globalization protest actions:\” the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in November 1999; the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, DC, in April 2000; a meeting of the Organization of American States held in Windsor, Ont. in June 2000; and that of the World Petroleum Congress, held in Calgary last June.

Victoria\’s proximity \”to cities with large potential protester populations, including Vancouver and Eugene, Oregon, the center of the anarchist \’black bloc\’ faction\” was another cause of concern raised by Battershill.

As a result of this perceived risk, the police chief warned that downtown Victoria would have to be converted into an armed camp. His report outlined a proposal for an onsite \”detention facility,\” the employment of a \”relatively large number of police officers\” (1500 were used in Calgary and Windsor), and the creation and enforcement of an \”exclusion zone\” around the conference site, which would possibly require a municipal by-law in order to be legal.

\”Victoria has a unique character and tourist-oriented downtown,\” Battershill warned. \”If the NATO Parliamentary Assembly occurs the City will look very different for a 10 day period in October 2001. This will include an exclusion zone in prime tourist areas, barriers, fencing and large number of police officers.\”

An officer in charge would be assigned in November 2000 to oversea the operation. In April 2001, an \”intelligence group\” involving CSIS and NSIS (two national intelligence bodies) would be such tasks as \”targeting\” and \”group I.D.\”

The cost for the entire operation?

\”It is certainly possible that the $3.4 million is within the magnitude we may have to consider,\” Battershill suggested in his report, citing the policing figure for the Windsor conference.

It appears as though it was too much for pristine Victoria to handle. On Oct. 5, the plug was pulled and the excitement, anticipation, and fear were suddenly gone.

Plans for the Victoria mobilization were well under way. Activists in the region, planned to spend most of the next year organizing against NATO. \”The momentum was building for, I think, an enormous protest,\” Caulder said. \”We were getting support from all over the world.\”

(as published in the Martlet, the University of Victoria\’s student newspaper; see www.martlet.org)