Category Archives: Spring 2000 (3/2/00)

Flywhel Opens in MA

Originating as a collective of local musicians, performers, artists and activists known as the Valley Arts and Music Alliance (VAMA), Flywheel, a new performance / arts space / infoshop, has opened in Easthampton, MA, in Western Massachusetts. The space offers a zine library, a cafĂ©, an art gallery and a performance space open to any and all who wish to use it. The space is volunteer run and generally has events every weekend. Flywheel has been open for almost a year and has hosted well known national and international bands such as Red Monkey, Verses, The Music Tapes, Sarge, Spaceheads, Mick Turner, Hudson Falcons, as well as several other local punk, jazz, folk and indie bands. Besides music, Flywheel has been host to movie screenings of Mumia Abu Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt, the Fugazi film Instrument, a local filmmaker’s festival and a queer film festival.

Flywheel is a collectively run, not-for-profit space which aims to build community and give artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and time should be equally accessible and affordable to all people.

Flywheel welcomes all performers and artists to send their materials. Also, Flywheel is currently looking for zine donations. Send any correspondence to:

Holyoke Street

Easthampton, MA 01027

(413) 527-0089

flywheel.webjump.com

vamarama@hotmail.com

Activist’s Legal Troubles Finally Over

Anti-war activist Nick Frabasilio’s legal troubles are finally over. After 4 months of endless court dates and bureaucratic stagnation he has come out victorious on all counts.

Frabasilio’s ridiculous criminal charges, including “participating in a riot” that didn’t occur, were finally dropped to an infraction of “disturbing the peace” to which he plead no contest on February 10th. A fine was waived in lieu of time served in court and it will not go on his record.

A civil suit brought by Frabasilio and his attorney, Larry Hildes, against the City of Berkeley and the police was also settled last month for $35,000, a percentage of which will go to pay legal fees.

In the end it appears that the trumped up charges and lengthy criminal court ordeal were the result of city pressure on the District Attorney to continue prosecuting the case as leverage against Frabasilio’s impeding civil suit.

Berkeley Sergeant Craig, who intentionally injured Frabasilio during the arrest, sending him to the hospital with a punctured cheek from a baton blow, was found guilty of using excessive force by both the Berkeley Police Review Commission and the Berkeley Police’s own internal investigation unit. The latter also sustained an allegation of “discourtesy” against Craig for threatening Frabasilio.

Frabasilio feels vindicated by the findings and is grateful to the dozens of courtroom supporters and witnesses who aided him. He remains outraged at the gross and seemingly systemic miscarriages of justice wrought by the police, the DA and the entire criminal “justice” system. “It’s bullshit”, he said.

Frabasilio also finds irony in his being found guilty of disturbing the peace while at an anti-war march. “If anything I should have been convicted of disturbing the war.”

No Privacy for Internet Organizers

Freedom of speech in the computer age was thrown dramatically into the question by a pair of recent stories. The first was the news that Ford would be offering its entire 350,000-member work force an Internet connected computer for $5.00 a month. This move was made more startling by the praise Ford received from Stephen Yokich, the head of the UAW, who said “This will allow us to communicate with our brothers and sisters from around the world.” This display of unanimity between management and the unions was in bizarre contrast to an announcement later in the week concerning Northwest airlines flight attendants. US District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the home PCs of Northwest airlines flight attendants could be confiscated and searched by Northwest, who were looking for evidence of email organizing a New Year’s sickout. Clearly corporations do not look favorably on communication amongst their employees. If the legal barriers to privacy on a home PC are weak now, and if a large number of worker’s PCs will be on loan from their parent company, the freedom of speech and relative anonymity we’ve taken for granted on the Internet to date will be seriously tested, and the law may be of little help.

Freedom of speech evangelists tend to worship at the altar of the First Amendment but it is far less sweeping than people imagine. Since the first amendment only prohibits governmental interference in speech and says nothing against commercial interference what happens when there is no public space, ie; as when all the available space is commercially owned? All online space may become some kind of commercial space where the protections of the first amendment will no longer reach.

FCC Ruling Legalizes Micro Radio – But the devil is in the details.

After a dozen years of radio civil disobedience in which thousands of people around the country started their own micro-powered radio stations to protest Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules banning all but the wealthy from access to radio broadcasting, the FCC issued an order “legalizing” micro radio January 30. It is not yet clear whether the order is a shocking vindication of the rag tag coalition of radicals, techies, artists and musicians who dared to challenge the FCC, or a textbook example of how government bureaucracies work to neutralize a radical movement by granting “reforms” and keeping the underlying system intact.

The answer to this question will come in part later this spring when the FCC begins taking applications for licenses to build legal micro power radio stations. Under the FCC’s new rules, there is little doubt that a lot of new radio stations will begin broadcasting: probably around 1,000 nationwide. It is possible that hundreds of the newly licensed stations will match the dreams of free radio advocates: fearless locally oriented stations that will give diverse voices a space on the radio dial, featuring a more local focus and alternative news, ideas, music and formats.

It is equally possible that the new stations will mostly be snapped up by religious broadcasters or other boring, narrow minded users like mainstream non-profits- -Boy Scouts, YMCA, local Chambers of Commerce- -who will use the new stations to extend their already considerable institutional channels of communication. In this scenario, micro radio would have few new voices, few new ideas, and the struggle of the last few years for a local, diverse and creative alternative would have been wasted.

As at every stage of the micro powered radio struggle, the outcome will largely depend on how well free speech advocates can quickly get organized to apply for new, legal radio licenses. Everyone reading this article ought to figure out how they can get together with others to put in an application for an available micro powered radio station in your community.

Direct Action Gets the Goods

The FCC’s ruling is directly in response to a national, radical, direct action movement. Once again, direct action gets the goods, but it’s sometimes hard to predict exactly what you’re going to get or whether you even want it. From the beginning, the national movement was split between people for whom the direct action was a goal in and of itself, and those pushing for legal reform.

For the former, the “golden age” of micro radio was during the period when hundreds of stations blossomed illegally around the country. These stations were experimental, visionary and exciting. The rebel broadcasters didn’t want the red tape associated with a legal license-they were doing excellent work just fine as long as no one seized their equipment. The struggle for legal broadcasting, and especially the Federal judge Claudia Wilkin’s refusal to issue a preliminary injunction against Free Radio Berkeley in their legal case, gave considerable legal cover for a thousand transmitters to bloom. With the FCC’s legalization order, the FCC is more likely to take a get tough attitude against those broadcasters who decide to ignore the process for a legal license and instead just keep broadcasting. For activists who wanted to live “free radio” with no laws, the FCC’s order is irrelevant, or at most a bureaucratic reform that will give the FCC an excuse to shut them down.

Other free radio activists were always focused on changing the law so that more risk averse potential broadcasters, not just brave (or reckless) rebels, could get on the air across the country. When the FCC issued their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last year, it was filed with a lot of provisions the legal reformers hated: it would have made the new stations open to commercial broadcasters, it didn’t contain local residency requirements, and it allowed for much higher wattage stations than necessary for true local niche broadcasting.

Lobbying Effort Generally Effective

The Committee on Democratic Communications (CDC) of the National Lawyers Guild spent last summer putting together an impressive national coalition to pressure the FCC to improve the proposed rules.

Amazingly, most of the ideas proposed by the CDC, with a few glaring exceptions, were adopted in the final FCC order. Issues where free radio reformers “won” include:

  • All of the new stations must be “non-commercial” and owned by non-profit entities;

  • No entity owning an existing radio station or other media outlet will be permitted to get a station;
  • During the first 2 years that the FCC issues licenses, stations will only be granted to organizations based within 10 miles of where the signal will broadcast., promoting local orientation of programming (this restriction will end after the 2 year “head start” for localism);
  • During the first 2 years, each entity will only be permitted to own one station (after 2 years, one entity can own up to 5, after 3 years 10 nationally, but still only one in each area);
  • When two or more entities apply for one station (which is probably going to be very common), the FCC will go through a number of creative steps to resolve the “mutual exclusive” applications, rather than using an auction (which favors the rich) or hearings, which are expensive and take a long time. These steps start with a point system, favoring community presence and local program orientation, and if the point system does not resolve the conflict, stations will be encouraged to reach a negotiated settlement by agreeing to share airtime. As described below, this usually inflexible approach is probably one of the most important victories for free radio advocates;
  • Only stations operating at 100 watts or less are permitted, allowing room for more stations (the original NPRM proposed to allow stations up to 1,000 watts);
  • Low Power FW (LPFM) stations won’t have to protect other radio stations on the “3 rd adjacent” channel, contrary to FCC rules for higher power stations. This decision in the FC order opens up space for 1,000 new stations-under previous FCC rules, the radio dial was generally considered “full.” The relaxation of the rules won’t apply to full power stations, only to micro stations. This is complex and important, so here’s an example: If there is a full powered station on 104.5 FM, the first adjacent channel is 104.3, the second adjacent channel is 104.1, and the third adjacent channel is 103.9. Under the new rules, an LPFM station can be located on 103.9 if there is a full powered station on 104.5 and nothing within 2 channels below 103.9 FM.

    While this last point is an important change in the FCC rules, the FCC didn’t go far enough.

    The losses

    Under the FCC order, LPFM stations will still have to protect other stations on the “2nd adjacent” channel, a massive victory for corporate radio forces, who made the potential for radio interference without 2nd adjacent channel protection a center-piece of their campaign against legalization of micro powered radio. This decision by the FCC is undoubtedly the worst aspect of their new rules. By forcing LPFM stations to protect on the 2nd adjacent channel, the FCC has denied the opportunity for thousands of new stations. The FCC decision also means that there will be very few new stations in large urban areas, where they are needed the most.

    This aspect of the FCC order is especially troubling since the FCC’s own technical study, and several independent technical studies, seemed to indicated that there would not be unacceptable levels of radio interference if the FCC lifted 2nd adjacent protection. In real world conditions, Free Radio Berkeley, which operated for 3 and a half years at 104.1 FM, did not noticeably interfere with two full powered stations, one at 104.5 and one at 103.7 FM. Both were 2nd adjacent channels from Free Radio Berkeley.

    The FCC decision regarding 2nd adjacent protection seems to be the secret loophole designed into the new rules by the FCC to nullify them. By writing the rules as they did, the FCC gives free radio reformers most everything they asked for, the FCC gets to hold a press conference and announce that they are in favor of democracy and free speech, but in the smoky back rooms, the FCC is still “taking care of business.” The FCC decision on this issue allows them to innocently proclaim that there “just isn’t any space” for very many new stations, especially in dense urban areas, when in fact this shortage of space is due to their own mis-decision on 2nd adjacent protection.

    The other and much more popularly discussed flaw in the FCC rules is that broadcasters who engaged in civil disobedience to force the issuance of the new FCC rules won’t be permitted to apply for licenses under the new rules. This is like lifting restrictions on bus seating after Rosa Parks’ famous ride for everyone else, but still requiring Rosa herself to sit in the back of the bus.

    Another very important flaw in the rules is that, except in certain rare instances of mutually exclusive application restrictions, all LPFM licenses issued under the rules will be renewable every 8 years indefinitely, just like “full” power licenses. This means that this May, when the FCC starts taking applications for new stations, may be the last time in human history when any non-mainstream organization will have an opportunity to get on the air in the United States. (Or at least until the Federal government crumbles.) This means that its extremely important to organize now-there won’t be another chance.

    It also means that over time, it is highly likely that any really radical, innovative, ground breaking stations will eventually “mellow out” and learn to fit in with the rest of the vast wasteland on the radio dial. Witness the example of KPFA, once an extremely radical broadcaster. At the moment it is attempting to transform itself into what NPR might have been like a few years ago; NPR itself is now pretty much like ABC. There is something about the passage of time-volunteers are replaced by “staff”, staff wants to be more “professional” as they get more experienced, once fearless people need to be more careful as they have kids and buy houses-that causes most radical, volunteer based non-profits to eventually get completely boring and mainstream. Witness the Sierra Club making deals with big business. Or even, some would say, the trends within Earth First!

    If the FCC had made the licenses nonrenewable, this would have meant that every few years, a new crop of adventurers would have gotten their chance at the microphone. This should be remembered weh any radical group that get ahold of a license is writing its bylaws: kick everyone out every few years and let the kids take over.

    There are a lot of other details, both good, bad and indifferent in the FCC rules, which are over 50 pages long. Read it at www.fcc.gov if you’re interested. The new stations won’t be able to broadcast dirty words, they’ll have the same political access rules as full powered stations, they’ll have to have an expensive decoder to broadcast Emergency Broadcast System announcements, stations will have 4 letter cal signs followed by “LP” for Low Power-”WXYZ-LP”, stations will have to broadcast at least 36 hours a week, at least 5 hours a day, and at least 6 days a week, etc.

    Reformist Sell-out or Opportunity

    As with any campaign for reform short of a total transformation of this system, the government making the reform intends reform to defuse radical demands. The reason the micro-radio movement may be different is because even winning 1,000 stations has the potential to materially increase the amount of social communication outside the control of corporate elites. Communication can promote resistance and ultimately social transformation. It remains to be seen whether LPFM will be a “non-reformist” reform, or yet another source of babble on the airwaves, and another meaningless attempt to make life under this intolerable system more fuzzy.

    Slingshot publishes this stuff in detail because we’ve been into the detail since the beginning. This might be almost the last article on Micro powered radio. We hope you care.

How to License Your Station

The FCC is expected to start taking applications for Low Power FM stations as early as May, 2000 (a National Association of Broadcasters lawsuit is not expected to delay implementation of the rules) and they will make an announcement 30 days before they take applications for new stations in a particular area. There will be a 5 day window within which to file an application for a station in each particular area. It will be easiest to file an application electronically over the internet. The FCC will make the first “cut”, if there are more than one application for a particular available station, based on a point system. An applicant can get a maximum of 3 points: one for establishing “community presence” of the organization, one for “proposed operating hours” and one for “local program origination.”

Any group bothering to apply had better have all three “points” nailed down, because only applicants with all three points will be eligible to participate in the next round to resolve mutually exclusive applications, which is where the real action is. “Established community presence” means that the group has existed in the community to be served by the station for at least 2 years prior to applying. Any group pledging to operate for at least 12 hours a day will get a point for “Proposed operating hours.” A group will get another point by pledging to locally originate at least 8 hours of programming per day under the “Local program origination” test.

If more than one group applies for a single license and they al have three points, the FCC will give all such groups 30 days to submit a time sharing proposal, giving each group involved in the agreement at least 10 hours per week. If every group applying for the available station agrees, the FCC will give all of them a joint license. Alternatively, and this is the crucially important aspect of this process, the FCC will add up all of the points if a subset of the groups applying, but not al of them, reach a time-share agreement.

How might this work in practice? Say 10 groups, all with 3 points, apply for the same station. Say 9 of them are religious broadcaster, and one is your local alternative free speech group. The 9 religious broadcasters will just split up the week, add their 3 points each and have 27 points vs 3 for the free speech group. This math strongly indicates that if free speech advocates want to get on the air, they need to organize sympathetic non-profit groups in their community so that many, many groups apply for each license, with a prior understanding that they will reach a time-share agreement and therefore add up their points. As stated above, only groups that can get all three points should bother to apply. Therefor free speech advocates need to get established groups (that have been around at least 2 years) to apply.

There are a lot of ways to cooperate/ A local high school could take 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. when school is in session, the local Unitarian (or other lefty) Church could take Sunday, a couple of free speech groups could take evenings, and really strange groups could take the middle of the night.

If numerous groups make mutually exclusive applications and they can’t work out a time-share agreement, the FCC will take up to 8 organizations “with the longest established community presence” and award each of them at least a one year license, the whole thing running for 8 years.

The National Lawyers Guild has a sample application available on their website, www.ndlcfc.org, and is hoping to offer technical support. (They’re seeking major donations to set up a technical clearinghouse, so if you’re rich, send ‘em a million.) They’re at 588 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 522-9814.

International Workers’ Day then and now

2000 to see international actions against capitalism

This May 1st, thousands of activists in dozens of countries are expected to simultaneously disrupt business as usual in what could be the largest international anti-capitalist mobilization in years. Following in the afterglow of Seattle, and coordinated by a loosely knit coalition that staged over 100 simultaneous protests in over 40 countries against economic globalization last June 18, the global mobilization includes a call for a General Strike on May Day, which falls on a Monday this year. In San Francisco, planning is underway for a creative, colorful and effective action against the capitalist forces which are destroying the earth’s environment and emiserating workers both here and abroad. Across the US and around the world, the days leading up to May 1 will feature a rich quilt of anarchist and workers picnics, forums, gatherings and the like.

Every year, May Day, known as International Workers Day in many countries, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world for liberation and justice. Ironically, in its place of origin, the United States, May Day has little or no significance to people in their everyday lives.

Many think May Day has something to do with the changing of the seasons and can conjure up vague visions of Maypole celebrations happening in a pasture somewhere in Europe. Some think it has to do with celebrating a season of fertility and rebirth. (This is Beltane the festival of fertility in many earth-centered religions). For others, it brings to mind extravagant military parades past the Kremlin celebrating Red power-a Communist holiday.

Most of us educated in state run schools have never heard a word about May Day and its origins. Even a chapter devoted to labor history and the labor unions is a rare occurrence. In fact, the events of May Day and the execution of the Chicago anarchists, spokespeople of the movement for the eight hour workday, mobilized many generations of radicals and continues to reverberate today. Emma Goldman, in her autobiography, Living My Life points to the Haymarket massacre as her political birth.

It all began over a century ago when the American Federation of Labor adopted a resolution that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1st 1886.” With workers forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly. In the months prior to May 1st, thousands of organized and unorganized workers, members of the Knights of Labor and of the American Federation of Labor, were drawn into the struggle.

In Chicago, the main center of agitation where the anarchists were in the forefront of the labor movement, 400,000 alone went out on strike for the 8 hour day. In the months leading up to May 1, two anarchist labor organizers, Albert Parsons and August Spies addressed crowds of thousands, making themselves the targets of the newspapers who called for “a communist carcass for every lamp post”.

Seeing class struggle and the strike as its most powerful weapons, the AFofL demanded an eight hour work day as a means of organizing the nation’s workers into a fighting force. Despite fierce resistance by industrialists, the press, and other contending forces within the labor movement, most working people supported the eight-hour day and were prepared to walk out for it.

On the morning of May 1, 1886, armed Pinkertons, militia and national guard were ready to put down what they thought would be a workers insurrection. However, all this preparation for violence was a waste of time -a parade and festivities took place without any trouble.

Two days later, at another meeting of striking workers outside the McCormick harvester plant, things were just breaking up with about 200 people remaining when police charged in and started shooting workers in the back as they tried to flee. Outraged by this vicious police attack, Albert Parsons circulated a flyer calling for a meeting at Haymarket Square in Chicago.

The crowd for the demonstration was larger than expected. After beginning to disband because of a storm that was brewing, the police started marching on the crowd. Suddenly somebody in the crowd threw a bomb at the police, killing seven.

Although it was never determined who threw the bomb, the incident was used as an excuse to attack and scapegoat anarchists and the labor movement in general. In the middle of a police reign of terror, union leaders and suspected radicals were randomly arrested without charge-”make the raids first and look up the law afterwards.” Anarchists in particular were harassed and eight of Chicago’s most active were charged with conspiracy to murder in connection with the Haymarket bombing. The martyrs, all anarchists-Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer, Louis Lingg, and Oscar Neebe-were found guilty despite a lack of evidence connecting any of them to the bombing. Neebe received 15 years while the others were sentenced to die. The day before the execution date, Fielden and Schwabs’ sentences were commuted while 21 year old Lingg committed suicide by using a dynamite cartridge which he placed in his mouth before lighting the fuse. As an anarchist, he did not recognize the right of the state to take his life and therefore decided to take it on his own.

On November 11, 1887, known the world over as “Black Friday” by anarchists, Parsons, Spies, Fischer, and Engels stood on the gallows. Under his hood, Spies spoke his final words, “The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you strangle today.”

In 1888, the AFL set May 1st, 1889 as a day of action for the eight-hour day. The following year, the newly formed International Association of Working People voted their support, and workers all over Europe and America demonstrated by holding meetings and parades to celebrate the eight hour workday. This was the birth of the International May Day, still celebrated all over the world.

Despite its setbacks in the U.S., May Day is still embraced by millions of workers in every country of the world as a day to raise class demands and show the strength of the working class as a whole. Why not reclaim May Day as our own, and reject the government milk sop “Labor Day” way off in September, with which workers have no connection.

It’s hardly a shock that the state, capitalist leaders and media would want to keep the true history of May Day hidden from the people. After all, it is an opportunity to show that the conscious organization of the working classes is a potent revolutionary force, the thought of which has haunted bosses and the ruling classes the world over. By reclaiming May Day for the workers of today we are reminding the ruling elite just how very vulnerable they really are.

Today more than ever, there is a need for a universal day of rage and hope and solidarity. May Day is that day.

May Day 2000 Around the World

Folks are still getting things organized, so this list will expand and get more detailed . . .

United Kingdom

Massive action in London to celebrate diverse struggles against capitalism, exploitation, and destruction of the planet, preceded by a four-day gathering starting April 28th, including workshops, speakers, discussions, a bookfair, a film festival, Critical Mass, plans for a permanent social center, etc

Manchester and Sheffield are also organizing events.

New York City

May Day parade, including actions and celebration.

San Francisco

Action in downtown against capitalist targets; celebration and a picnic. sfmayday2000@yahoo.com

Washington, DC

After the city gets shut down on April 16 when the IMF and the World Bank are in town, DC will be ready for a cool May Day celebration including: music, food, speakers, workshops, tables from liberatory organizations, etc.

Chicago

Marches and unified protest downtown, with actions, shut-downs and anti-capitalist carnival. Possible targets include major corporations, the Board of Trade, maybe the whole city.

New Orleans

Rally and march in Congo Park including an autonomous anarchist section.

Eugene, Oregon

May Day action and celebration.

Gainsville, Florida

Camp-out in the Everglades, labor video festival, parade/dance/cavort event, a speak-out and celebration to be held on pirate radio, and a workday to make puppets and other crafty displays.

Olympia, Washington

May Day celebration.

Phoenix, Arizona

Carnival against capitalism.

Rape in Prison

Dostoyevski said “The degree of civilization in a sociey can be judged by entering its prisons”.

In a couple of more months we will enter the year 2000. Everyone is expecting or hoping for some kind of change in universal awareness. What I hope to change is society’s ignorance concering rape inside of prisons.

This type of rape is largely unknown or overlooked by thr general public. Most government, state and prison officials that are in authority to do something about it either approach it with a lack of emotional responce, or ignore it in hopes that it will go away, therefore leaving the problem unsolved. It then continues and increases and becomes more (rigid.) (entrenched?)

The exact number of rapes in the prison system is unknown due to most not being reported because of great fear of retaliation. The number is believed to be very high.

Rapes are done by other prisoners as well as the guards hired to watch over the prisoners. It is accomplished by use of physical force, verbal threats or promises of rewards. Threats and rewards that would br viewed as petty or taken for granted (not taken seriously?) by those in the free world.

Prisoners have been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for a crime that was committed, then sent to prison as punishment. Not sent to prison to become another victim in the world. Even though some people may think that the prisoner deserves whar s/he gets. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

A group of French women made a statement against rape at the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in 1976, “Legally, rape is recognized as a crime with physical aspects only; namely the penetration of the vagina by the penis against the will of the victim. In effect, however, the real crime is the annihilation

Oakland Military Academy

In his latest effort to militarize Oakland, after having given the police a green light to police in the War on Crime and inviting the Marines to town to do exercises, Jerry Brown is now pushing for the creation of an Oakland Military Academy that will put youth on the fast track to military service as an alternative to normal middle school and high school.

The proposed public charter school Academy, which could open as soon as this Fall, would be run by the California National Guard and would have students wear uniforms, run through military drills, and even take field trips to the rifle range. The old Oakland army base has been mentioned as a possible location.

The idea is being pushed heavily by Mayor Brown and by City Manager Robert Bobb who has said it will provide “educational choices to students and parents.”

“It would instill discipline and leadership,” says Brown.

The idea is patterned after the Virginia Military Institute in Richmond, Virginia, the first city in the country with a public military academy. Bobb was city manager in Richmond before being brought to Oakland, so it must have been his idea. One of his sons attended the Virginia Institute.

The idea already has $1.3 million in seed money from Governor Gray Davis and may have close to $10 million since Brown lobbied federal officials in Washington D.C. in January.

The military school is part of a “specialized schools” proposal by Brown and Bobb which includes a selective admissions “academic” high school for math and science, and a music and arts school. The Academy would be co-ed and include students from 6th grade through high school. One hundred and sixty 7th graders would make up the first class.

Brown who is probably using this as his latest stunt in plans to run for senator or president has said the Academy “will be a place of high achievement.” The School Board has not yet considered the proposal.

Police Attack Striking Mexican Students

Police invaded the National Autonomous University of Mexico and arrested more than 700 students on February 7, 2000. University and high school students and faculty have been striking since August 20, 1999, when they occupied all 36 campuses. Protestors had six demands, principally: continued free education and repeal od the Reforms of 1997 that limit the time a student has to complete a degree.

The engineering school wanted to do their part in the struggle so they borrowed a transmitter, bought some equipment and went on the air. On April 28th La Que Huelga was born. With 30 watts they covered southern Mexico City. They organized democratically with as much community participation as possible. After two months the government began to interfere, especially during critical news. Police shut down the radio during the February 7 attack; those found inside the station are still in jail since radios fall under the jurisdiction of the army and operation is a serious crime.

During the occupation, students taught classes, held forums and congresses and lead huge marches of tens of thousands. The students tried to negotiate with the government but the government would not do so in good faith. Mass protests continue in support of the 173 still in jail.