Friday, June 03, 2011

Saturday's Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party

adam kokesh

Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh holds the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party tomorrow at noon. He will be in DC at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and solidarity events are taking place around the world -- click here for more. On last night's Adam vs. the Man, Adam spoke with Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry. In a column, Medea explains what happened last weekend:

It was Memorial Day weekend. My partner Tighe Barry and I were on our way to New York, but we decided to make a quick trip to the Memorial to support the dancers. When we got there, two park policemen were talking to the group. We moved closer to hear what they were saying and overheard someone ask the police how they define dancing. Tighe put his arms around my waist and started swaying, illustrating how hard it is to define what, precisely, is dancing.
Suddenly, to our utter amazement, we were set upon by the police. They yanked us apart, handcuffed us and shoved us on the ground. That’s when three members of the group put on their headsets and started boogying. The police went wild, bodyslamming, chokeholding, and jumping on top of them. The police cleared out the entire Memorial as if they were protecting the tourists from some kind of terrorist threat, then threw us in a paddywagon and hauled us off to jail. Three hours later, after mug shots and fingerprinting, we were charged with “dancing in a restricted area” and cited to come back to court.

And here's Adam addressing the assault he experienced (body slammed to a marble floor, choke hold, etc.).


Again, the Dance Party is tomorrow.

We need a truth party and it's a topic we'll take up in today's snapshot if there's room. Maybe not so much a "truth party" as a "WAKE UP!" party? We've noted for over four years now that the War Hawks do not give up. They push and push and pimp the Iraq War. And while they do that, one time war opponents walk away and abidcate not only their responsibility but the entire discussion. Some of the people whose heads should be hanging in shame have made it into print, online and on radio in the last few days to promote the illegal war all over again. And they are allowed to seize control of the conversation when the likes of The Nation, The Progressive, Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now, et al have nothing to say on the Iraq War. Their silence allows revisionary history to take place. Their silence allows these people who lied and whored in 2002 and 2003 to escape judgment and consequences and to trick a generation that's come of age during the illegal war and may or may not be aware of its roots in deception, let alone who the big liars were.

The following community sites -- plus -- updated last night and this morning:

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "The Rebirth of Solidarity on the Border" (Americas Program):

Editor's Note: This is the third article of a series on border solidarity by journalist and immigration activist David Bacon. This article and subsequent stories were originally published in the Institute for Transnational Social Change's report Building a Culture of Cross-Border Solidarity. To download a PDF of the entire report, visit the Americas Program website.

The growth of cross-border solidarity today is taking place at a time when U.S. penetration of Mexico is growing - economically, politically, and even militarily. While the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has it's own special characteristics, it is also part of a global system of production, distribution and consumption. It is not just a bilateral relationship.

Jobs go from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico in order to cut labor costs. But from Mexico those same jobs go China or Bangladesh or dozens of other countries, where labor costs are even lower. As important, the threat to move those jobs, experienced by workers in the U.S. from the 1970s onwards, are now common in Mexico. Those threats force concessions on wages. In Sony's huge Nuevo Laredo factory, for instance, that threat was used to make workers agree to an indefinite temporary employment status, even though Mexican law prohibited it.

Multiple production locations undermine unions' bargaining leverage, since action by workers in a single workplace can't shut down production for the entire corporation. The UAW, for instance, was beaten during a strike at Caterpillar in large part because even though the union could stop production in the U.S., production in Mexico continued. Grupo Mexico can use profits gained in mining operations in Peru to subsidize the costs of a strike in Cananea.

The privatization of electricity in Mexico will not just affect Mexicans. Already plants built by Sempra Energy and Enron in Mexico are like maquiladoras, selling electricity into the grid across the border. If privatization grows, that will have an impact on US unions and jobs, giving utility unions in the U.S. a reason to help Mexican workers resist it. This requires more than solidarity between unions facing the same employer. It requires solidarity in resisting the imposition of neoliberal reforms like privatization and labor law reform as well.

At the same time, the concentration of wealth has created a new political situation in both countries. In Mexico, the PRI functioned as a mediator between organized workers and business. PRI governments used repression to stop the growth of social movements outside the system it controlled. But the government also used negotiations in the interest of long-term stability. The interests of the wealthy were protected, but some sections of the population also received social benefits, and unions had recognized rights. In 1994, for instance, the government put leaders of Mexico City's bus union SUTAUR in prison. But then it proceeded to negotiate with them while they were in jail.

The victory of Vicente Fox and the PAN in 2000 created a new situation, in which the corporate class, grown rich and powerful because of earlier reforms, no longer desired the same kind of social pact or its political intermediaries. The old corporatist system, in which unions had a role, was no longer necessary. Meanwhile employers and the government have been more willing to use force. Unions like the Mexican Electricians Union (SME) and miners face not just repression, but destruction.

In the U.S. a similar process took place during the years after the Vietnam War, when corporations made similar decisions. After the Federal government broke the air traffic controller's (PATCO) strike, the use of strikebreakers became widespread. Corporations increasingly saw even business unions as unnecessary for maintaining social peace and continued profits. Union organizing became a kind of labor warfare. A whole industry of union busters appeared, making the process set up by U.S. labor law in the 1930s much less usable by workers seeking to organize.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends