Monday, May 31, 2010

Attention Youth Activists: We’re going to the United States Social Forum 2010!

It’s going to be one HELL of a Summer ROADTRIP!

From June 22-26th activists from all over the country will be converging in Detroit, MI for what is sure to be the largest convention of leftist activists in years! We are expecting more than 10,000 people.

According to the website, “the US Social Forum will provide a space to build relationships, learn from each other's experiences, and share analysis of the problems our communities face. It will help develop leadership, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world”.

Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) will be organizing a contingent of youth to leave Minneapolis on June 21st, attend the forum for five days, and come back to Minneapolis on June 27th. YAWR will organize transportation, food, and board for all of its contingent members for a fee of $150--$250 per member. If this cost is unaffordable, scholarships are available.

Israel attacks Gaza Aid fleet

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.
The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves."

Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thousands protest Arizona's immigration law

Under a broiling desert sun, tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday slowly marched five miles to the state Capitol to rally against Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

There was no official crowd estimate, but the march was by far the biggest demonstration since Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23. The law makes it a state crime to lack immigration papers and requires police to determine the status of people they stop and suspect are in the country illegally.

The law's backers, who held their own rally at a suburban stadium Saturday evening, contend that the measure is necessary to protect against violence seeping across the border from Mexico. "Why not make the country like it's supposed to be? Borders define us," said Don Baggett, who came to the rally from a Houston suburb.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New (and Old) Members YAWR Meeting (FREE PIZZA)

Youth Against War & Racism Meeting
--- Join us to prepare a summer of youth activism ---
--- Pizza and drinks provided! ---
Monday (Memorial Day), May 31st
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis (West Bank)

After a period of internal re-organization, Youth Against War & Racism is back in action, and we're inviting you to join us for a summer of organizing an activism. Our immediate focus is mobilizing for a local youth delegation to join with thousands at the U.S. Social Forum at the end of June (email back if you want to come!).

YAWR already has a long track record of organizing against military recruitment in the schools, including our continued campaign of anti-war tabling which brought us into all but two Minneapolis high schools this past Spring semester. But while maintaining a strong youth antiwar presence, YAWR is planning to branch out even further this summer, potentially taking up budget cuts to education, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, and more. We have several exciting campaign ideas, but we want your input before firmly deciding on our next steps. Join us Monday to help set the direction of youth activism in the Twin Cities in 2010 and beyond.

Here is the Agenda for the Monday YAWR Meeting

1. Introductions/pizza
2. What is YAWR? (What we stand for, what we have done)
3. Next Steps?
4. U.S. Social Forum
     What is the Social Forum
     What YAWR wants to do and logistics
     Why you should go

See you there!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NO JOKE: CIA Had Plan to Portray Saddam Hussein as Pedophile

(May 25) -- The CIA had a bag of dirty tricks ready for Saddam Hussein in preparation of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq that included making him look like a pedophile. It also had something similar planned for Osama bin Laden.

The Washington Post blog Spy Talk, citing former CIA officials, said one devious tactic involved creating a video showing the Iraqi strongman purportedly having sex with a teenage boy.

"It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera," one ex-CIA official told Spy Talk's Jeff Stein. "Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arizona to Obama: We need Predator drones!

The governor specifically asked for OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, used by the military for reconnaissance, noting that Arizona currently has only four of them "available for border missions."
"These helicopters are extremely valuable assets in supporting law enforcement efforts on the ground," she wrote. "The number available, though, is inadequate to provide the kind of support needed on the Arizona border."
The governor said that a fleet of eight to 10 Kiowa helicopters "would enable us to double our border coverage to 2,000 hours per year. To be effective, these additional aircraft must be equipped for day and night operations."

Obama Set To Send 1,200 Troops To US-Mexico Border

by Erica Werner and Jacques Billeaud

WASHINGTON — Under pressure to take action, President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border, pre-empting Republican efforts to force a congressional vote to send the troops.

Obama will also request $500 million for border protection and law enforcement activities, according to lawmakers and administration officials.

The president's action comes as chances for comprehensive immigration reform, Obama's long-stated goal, look increasingly dim in this election year. Obama has been all but compelled to do something since Arizona's passage of a tough illegal-immigration law thrust the border problem into the public spotlight.

Indeed, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer credited her signing of the controversial new law for compelling Obama to act. Signing the law, Brewer said in a statement, "clearly ignited the talk of action in Washington for the people of Arizona and other border states."

Monday, May 24, 2010

U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Military Acts in Mideast Region

by mark mazzetti

WASHINGTON — The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials said. Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to “prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document said. The order, however, does not appear to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Occupation of U.S. Public Schools: Kids as Cannon Fodder and Consumers

by Mary Beaudoin, Women Against Military Madness

In November of 2009, ninety retired U.S. military leaders, including former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark, two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and six other four-star generals and admirals, announced their plans to cultivate another demographic to fight future imperial wars—pre-schoolers. According to Rear Admiral Barnett, “Our national security in the year 2030 is absolutely dependent on what’s going on in pre-kindergarten today.”

Major press throughout the country printed the story, echoing the concern that so many 17-24 year olds are unfit for military service today and that in the future it could mean “a limited pool (of potential recruits) will hold back our military readiness and erode our national security in the long run.

Although it may be surprising that they are targeting tots, it’s probably not surprising that high-ranking retired military men have an interest in raising cannon fodder for the future and passing on the lethal legacy associated with their careers. But what may come as a surprise is that they are already well on their way with the aid of the Obama administration and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as congress, in pursuing an aggressive agenda, spearheaded by the Pentagon and corporate business interests, to alter the entire U.S. public education system.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Defying Police Threats, Students Walk Out Against the Republican National Convention

by Ty Moore

Despite police attempts to intimidate students from participating, hundreds of Twin Cities youth walked out of high schools on Thursday, September 4th, to protest the war on the final Republican National Convention. Over 400 joined an energetic rally and march from the State Capitol, featuring a theatrical mock trial of giant puppet caricatures of Dick Cheney and other "War Criminals" who run Washington.

"While the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul roll out the red carpet for the convention, we say no to business as usual while the people responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. soldiers come to our city to plot their next steps," said Desarae Walker, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota and an activist with Youth Against War & Racism and Socialist Alternative. "We are tired of paying for a war with no end in sight."

The walkout also received substantial media coverage, including on TV news, in both local and national outlets (several links are included at the end of this article).

Most organizers of the event had anticipated a substantially higher turnout, but this was cut across by thinly veiled threats by police of violence against students who walked out - threats echoed by school officials. With the student strike called for just the third day of classes, there was little time for organizers to counter this fear campaign.

Friday, May 7, 2010

They're Not Illegal, They're Heroes: Why Immigrants Are Right to Chase the American Dream

We need to stop calling undocumented immigrants in the United States “illegal”. A more appropriate term is: New American Heroes.

Why are undocumented immigrants heroes?

Millions of Americans, immigrants and citizens, work incredibly hard every single day in ridiculously low paying jobs that are the life-blood of our economy but are barely life-sustaining in return. I think every person who gets up at the crack of dawn or in the middle of the night to work one or two or even three jobs so they can pay the rent and put food on the table are heroes. But as hard as it is for every low-wage worker in the United States (and increasingly, middle class folks too) undocumented immigrants face additional, greater obstacles. These undocumented immigrants are heroes, too.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

“Hey Dad, Why do we save Billionaires, but not Teachers?”

This week thousands of New Jersey public school students walked out of class to protest draconian school budget cuts. “Save my teacher,” their signs read. In a state that is home to a bevy of high finance billionaires, with the highest per capita income in the nation, teachers are being sacked left and right. In our town half the student body protested outside the high school. Perhaps the protesters should turn their eyes towards the twenty-five top hedge fund honchos who took in $25 billion in 2009. Their “earnings” alone could fund 658,000 entry level teachers.
It’s ironic that the battlefield in this war over resources is public education. Because the public remains entirely uneducated about the connection between those billionaires and school budget cuts. We are clueless about what the Wall Street billionaires do to earn their riches and whether it’s of any value. We might be able to understand “weapons of mass destruction,” but financial weapons of mass destruction are way beyond us.
The new earning reports are good, we read. The giant financial institutions are back to making billions through “trading.” So are these bankers grown-up versions of kids trading baseball cards–or are they robber barons? Are they enriching our society or siphoning off its wealth? Maybe the marching students of New Jersey could ask Governor Christie to explain.

May Day Protest v. GOP State Convention