|Progressive Calendar 12.18.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:31:09 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.18.06 1. Fair hiring 12.18 1:30pm 2. Immigrant workers 12.18 4pm 3. Amnesty Intl 12.18 7pm 4. Zimmermann court 12.19 1:30pm 5. Amy Goodman/SPNN 12.19 5pm 6. Vs military in HS 12.19 6:30pm 7. Peace/hope salon 12.19 6:30pm 8. MichaelLerner/CTV 12.19 8pm 9. David Bacon - Meatpacking raids = union-busting 10. Steven Hill - Instant Runoff Voting is catching on 11. Another Pennsylvania township strips corporations of 'rights' 12. ed - Corporations are persons (poem) --------1 of 12-------- From: Guy Gambill <gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org> Subject: Fair hiring 12.18 1:30pm Council on Crime and Justice presses Minneapolis to follow in St. Paul's footsteps by "banning the box." Minneapolis (12/15/06) - On December 18, 2006, at 1:30 pm, and at the urging of the Council on Crime and Justice, the Ways & Means Committee of the Minneapolis City Council will discuss the adoption of the Minneapolis version of the Fair Hiring Practices Resolution recently adopted by St. Paul. This will take place in Main Council Chambers at the Minneapolis City Hall. The resolution seeks specifically to "ban the box" (remove the question inquiring if a person has a criminal record) on applications for employment with the City. More broadly, it calls for adherence to Chapter 364 of the Minnesota State Statutes. 364 stipulates that persons with a criminal history who are seeking public employment must be accorded the opportunity to provide the hiring body with evidence of rehabilitation and the opportunity to explain their circumstances. Adoption of this resolution ensures that the hiring practices of the City of Minneapolis do not unduly discriminate against individuals with criminal histories and in particular against persons of color, who are disproportionately arrested, convicted and incarcerated. It also promotes both a fairer and a safer society, improving job opportunities for individuals with criminal records, thereby reducing recidivism and its considerable social and economic costs to taxpayers and to the community as a whole. The Council on Crime and Justice is a private, non-profit organization that has been a leader and pioneer in the field of social reform and criminal justice for nearly 50 years. CONTACT: Guy Gambill Council on Crime and Justice Tel: 612 596-7628 gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org <mailto:gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org> --------2 of 12-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Immigrant workers 12.18 4pm SOLIDARITY WITH THE WORKERS IN WORTHINGTON Monday Dec 18th 4 pm Office of Senator Norm Coleman 2550 University Ave. St Paul Demand that Senator Coleman support: No more raids! Family Reunification through the release of detainees! Legalization for all and Comprehensive Immigration Reform! For flyers visit: http://www.mnimmigrantrights.net For more information contact Perry Bellow-Handelman, JCA Immigrant Rights Organizer at Jewish Community Action 651-632-2184 o --- HERE ARE SOME STATEMENTS FROM LOCAL LEADERS... >From Doug Mork, Organizing Director UFCW Local 789: The outrageous raids at Swift plants around the country on Tuesday are an affront to all of us. You have no doubt followed the stories flowing in from Worthington and the other five cities of communities terrorized, families divided and children who still don't know the whereabouts of their parents. ICE officers were given carte blanche to terrorize over 13,000 people based solely on the color of their skin. Once again, the poor and disenfranchised have been punished for trying to improve their lives. A couple of weeks before Christmas on the festival day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the current administration has committed another labor atrocity. In the Twin Cities, labor, community and religious leaders have been working to respond to the concrete needs of all those suffering from these actions. President Mike Potter and UFCW Local 1161 have been working around the clock to respond to the situation in Worthington and continuing efforts will be made to support them. However, we must also raise our voices together and cry out for justice. Please join us for a vigil and rally at Senator Coleman's office at 2550 University Ave. in St. Paul on Monday, December 18 at 4:00. This is an opportunity to show solidarity with the Worthington workers and community and call on Senator Coleman to end the raids, reunify families, free the detainees and support comprehensive immigration reform. For more information, please call Doug Mork at 612-310-5752. See you there! -- >From The MN Immigrant Freedom Network: Dear Allies and Immigrants, These are some ways you can help the families and children affected by the abusive ICE raids in Worthington. Donate Food, Clothes, Toys Thanks to Latino Communications Network, this Friday and Saturday from 8am--8pm, donations will be collected at the La Invasora station in Plaza Verde, 2nd floor, located on the corner of Lake St. and Bloomington Avenue. Families have expressed the need for basic foods such as tortillas, beans, rice, cereal, crackers, maseca, baby formula and juice. Due to the holiday season right around the corner, people would like to see toys and children's clothes donated as well. Please drop off your donation at the Plaza Verde building, all donations will be transported to Worthington on Sunday, thanks to the support of Latino Communications Network. Once the donations arrive in Worthington, they will be given to the Distribution Committee who will make sure that all the donations get evenly handed out to the various locations/organizations that are actively connecting with families and children who have been affected by the issue. Donate Money Monetary contributions are being accepted by Darlene Maklin, United Way/Chamber of Commerce in Worthington, please call Darlene at 507-372-2919 to let her know how much you'd like to contribute. Money is needed to help families pay for rent and heating bills due to the economic hit some of these families are enduring because of the immigration raids. Volunteers People are needed in Worthington to help translate (Spanish-English) in various settings, from helping the media to connect with human stories of this issue to helping lawyers fill out in-take forms. People are needed to help the union with food distribution logistics and database building, increasing capacity to connect with families and help provide general support for local happenings. Media You can help to take a stance against immigration raids by writing letters to the editor (the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and your local newspaper) to point out the inhumane and unjust circumstances regarding the raids. These raids do nothing to help communities engage with the root causes of immigration. Raids are unacceptable, they devastate communities, heartlessly divide families and negatively affect all people, not just Latinos. Try to reach out to members of editorial boards in any newspaper to see if they can publish an editorial taking a stance against these oppressive raids. Participate in web based conversations to help educate the broader public about why you believe immigration raids are not the answer, we suggest logging on to: The Star Tribune's Buzz http://www.buzz.mn/ The Star Tribune's Crib Sheet, for parents, http://www.startribune.com/blogs/cribsheet/ The Worthington Daily Globe's commentary, http://www.dglobe.com/talk/index.cfm?id=28&article_id=28 Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network 2500 University Avenue, Suite C8 St. Paul, MN 55114il 651-287-0660n freedomnetwork [at] gmail.com See our history and visit our website at: www.mnfr.org --------3 pf 12-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 12.18 7pm There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities area. All of them are welcoming and would love to see interested people get involved -- find the one that best fits your schedule or location: Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, December 18th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street, Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or johns779 [at] tc.umn.edu. --------4 of 12-------- From: Dean Zimmermann <deanzimm [at] mn.rr.com> Subject: Zimmermann court 12.19 1:30pm Greetings Friends, Family & Supporters, In answer to the many questions that I am getting about my current status: A sentencing date has been set for 1:30 pm, Tuesday, December 19th. This will take place on the 13th Floor of the Mpls Federal Court House, the same building where the trial was held. I expect that I will have to report to a prison sometime around January 16th. Any appeals will be filed at time of sentencing. Right now we have not made any decisions about what appeals may be made or on what grounds. Again I want to offer my deepest thanks to all of you who have been so kind and generous in your support of Jenny and me during the past year and a half. Please continue with your efforts to build a sustainable and just society. I look for a lot of good to come out of this situation. On Saturday, January 6th, 2007 there will be a "Last Supper" at the Twin Cities Friends Meeting (TCFM) House in St. Paul, 1725 Grand Avenue. This dinner will be hosted by members of our TCFM Committee of Support: Dorothy Thomsen, Richard Fuller, Betsy Raasch-Gilman, Anne Holzinger, Susan De ries, and Charley Underwood. There are two parts to this evening: 1) at 5 pm there will be a Quaker Meeting for Worship service with attention to offering words of support for Dean. 2) Part Two is a potluck supper in the Fellowship Hall, lower level, of TCFM, starting between 6-6:15 p.m. Friends & family can share a blessing to give to me to take with me when I go to "camp" (no, we still do not know where I will be serving my time). You are welcome to attend one or both parts. I want to use this evening as a chance to see many of my friends and have an opportunity to thank you and say good bye, until we meet again. I hope many of you can join us on January 6th. PLEASE NOTE: If you have not yet written a letter to Judge Montgomery, please do so within the next week. In your letter you can cite what a great person I am and what wonderful things I have done as a longtime advocate for peace, racial & economic justice and environmental stewardship. (As a Park Board Commissioner: dog parks/the use of large wetland-type bio-filters/the re-introduction of native plants and prairie grasses/a decrease in cutting parkland grass). (As a City Council Member: work on homelessness issues/immigrants rights issues/anti-war pro-peace resolution introduced/support for independent & locally owned businesses/advocated a stronger role for the Civilian Review Authority relating to police brutality/increases in affordable homes for urban Native Americans/pushed for and got the City on track for converting its fleet of vehicles to bio-fuels/advocated for green roofs in the city). Be sure to mention how my absence will be a loss to the community. Your letter should be addressed to: The Honorable Ann Montgomery, Federal District Court Judge, and then SENT to my lawyer, Dan Scott, Attorney, Kelley & Wolter, P. A., Centre Village Offices, 431 S. 7th Street, Suite 2530, Minneapolis, MN 55415. These letters should be written and sent as soon as possible. Keep them short - no more than 1 page - and no dissing the Judge or jury or prosecution. Your letter's intent should be about encouraging the judge to go easy on me when determining my sentence. Good news! We have decided to keep our home at 2200 Clinton Avenue. Thus Jenny will NOT be moving-hooray! We are still trying to sell our rental property at 2012 Grand Avenue, Mpls. This is a 4 unit building that is always full of good tenants. If you or someone you know might be interested, give us a call. Or better yet, call Bonnie Everts, our realtor, at 612-728-2225. Dean is still working as a handyperson and will continue to do so until he heads out to "camp." Thus he is looking for jobs. Stay happy, stay strong and redouble you efforts to build peace and justice. Again, thanks a bunch for the supportive phone calls, the e-mails-especially the humorous ones! the hugs, the smiles, the love you've shared with us through the years, especially this most difficult past year. --Peace, Jenny Heiser & Dean Zimmermann ----- Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:29:05 -0600 From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Tomorrow, Tuesday, we find out what Dean's sentence will be on the three charges he was convicted of last August. Please join us at the sentencing: Tuesday, December 18, 1:30pm Sentencing of Dean Zimmermann in the courtroom of Judge Ann Montgomery, 13th floor of the Federal Building, 300 S. 4th St, in downtown Mpls. Dean and Jenny have appealed for supporters to come if they are able. They are heartened by the over 130 letters written to the judge supporting Dean and asking for leniency. Let's show our support publicly tomorrow! Here is Dean and Jenny's take on what to expect: "While there is no question that the many - over 100! - letters sent to Judge Montgomery will have a positive impact, there is no reason for us to believe that she will deviate a great deal from the Federal sentencing guidelines. These guidelines are 30-37 months imprisonment. The Federal Prosecutor's office is asking the judge to sentence Dean to 36-48 months. .... The likelihood that the Judge will sentence Dean solely to community service for a period of time is not high." [For comparison, Brian Herron received a one year sentence in 2002, lowered from a federal guideline of 2-1/2 years due to his cooperation in collecting evidence against the briber Basim Sabri - who received a 33 month sentence. Joe Biernat received a one year and nine month sentence in 2003 from the same judge who will be sentencing Dean. Biernat, however, was found not guilty on the bribery charge, and was sentenced for five lesser charges.] If he is sentenced to prison, Dean will be starting his sentence sometime in the second half of January, 2007. Though a sentence of probation or community service would be a huge relief, we should remember that any sentence at all is excessive and unwarranted, because Dean is clearly innocent of any criminal act. Bribery involves the intent to solicit or accept money in exchange for favors done. Those of us who know Dean well can safely say that Dean would never have that intent. In reality, this case has nothing to do with bribes, corruption, or even ethics or campaign financing. This is about Dean being set-up by the FBI due to his long history of political activism. The FBI has been watching and keeping files on Dean for at least 40 years. Dean is headed for federal prison because of what he has done RIGHT all his lifetime, not for anything he has done wrong. If Dean goes to prison, he will be a political prisoner by any definition I have ever heard. We should support him tomorrow, and we should continue to support him, as such. I hope to see as many of you as possible tomorrow, --Dave Bicking PS. Mark your calendars now: Saturday, January 6, 5pm Quaker meeting for worship, 6pm potluck dinner at the Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A going-away party, or as they are calling it, a "Last Supper" for Dean. --------5 of 12-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Amy Goodman/SPNN 12.19 5pm Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10 am each Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15. Below are the scheduled shows through the end of 2006. 12/19 and 12/20 'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 1). Host of Democracy Now! Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church. 12/26 and 12/27 'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 2). Host of Democracy Now! Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church. "Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists. The show is mostly local and not corporately influenced! For information about future programming of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to eric-angell [at] riseup.net. (PS It might be better than PBS.) --------6 of 12-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Vs military in HS 12.19 6:30pm Central High Students Need Your Support! tell the St. Paul Board of Education to RESTRICT MILITARY RECRUITMENT at CENTRAL HIGH Join us on Tuesday, December 19th 6:30 PM to respectfully and firmly raise our demands at the St. Paul Board of Education Meeting 360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN 55102 ** Gather in the hall outside the Board's meeting room at 6:30pm before we enter together before the 7pm public comment section of the meeting. ** if you need a ride, call Brandon at 952-465-5307 CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND Central High Youth Against War and Racism has been campaigning against military recruiters in their school for over a year now. They organized hundreds to walk out in protest on November 2nd 2005, and then last spring secured over 600 student signatures on a petition to stop military recruitment at Central. However, military recruiters have only increased their presence this fall, part of their national intensification of recruitment efforts as the Iraq war drags on. Now they are taking their demands to the St. Paul Board of Education, demanding they do all in their legal power to restrict military recruitment at Central (see specific demands in the students' "Open Letter" pasted below) At the last Board of Education meeting on November 21 the students explained their "Open Letter" demands during the public comment section of the meeting, telling the Board they would return on December 19 to hear their reply. In the meantime, they have organized a new petition drive around the demands in the "Open Letter," aiming to get 500 signatures by next Tuesday. They have distributed their letter to hundreds of parents as well, asking them to show up on the 19th. And they are asking for your support as well! Please consider taking the following steps. HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT CENTRAL HIGH STUDENTS 1) Show up to the meeting at 6:30 pm on December 19. Bring a sign to respectfully, but clearly, back up the students as the testify during the public comment section. 2) If you're part of a community group or other sympathetic organization, send out this announcement on your e-mail lists asking others to come show support. 3) Write the school board, principal, and superintendent a letter expressing your endorsement of these demands. Send us a copy at _against.war [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:against.war [at] gmail.com) so we're aware of it. The relevent contact info is below, and you can base your letter off the points raised in the students' "Open Letter" below that. 4) Volunteer to also offer testimony at the Board of Education meeting. Especially if you are a parent (of any student at any school), a veteran, or simply passionate on this issue, we would love you to prepare a short speech (under 3 minutes). If you would like to speak, please call Brandon at 952-465-5307 to discuss navigating the Board's process formalities for public comment. Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen Administration Building, 360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN 55102 _supt.carstarphen [at] spps.org _ (mailto:supt.carstarphen [at] spps.org) Principal Mary Mackbee Central Senior High School, 275 Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul, MN 55104 _mary.mackbee [at] spps.org_ (mailto:mary.mackbee [at] spps.org) Board of Education (and all members) 360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN 55102 Individual board members' e-mails: Elona Street-Stewart, Chair - _elona.street-stewart [at] spps.org_ (mailto:elona.street-stewart [at] spps.org) Tom Conlon, Clerk - _thomas.conlon [at] spps.org_ (mailto:thomas.conlon [at] spps.org) Anne Carroll, Director - _anne.carroll [at] spps.org_ (mailto:anne.carroll [at] spps.org) Al Oertwig, Director - _al.oertwig [at] spps.org_ (mailto:al.oertwig [at] spps.org) Kazoua Kong-Thao, Vice-Chair - _kazoua.kong-thao [at] spps.org_ (mailto:kazoua.kong-thao [at] spps.org) John Brodrick, Treasurer - _john.brodrick [at] spps.org_ (mailto:john.brodrick [at] spps.org) Tom Goldstein, Director - _tom.goldstein [at] spps.org_ (mailto:tom.goldstein [at] spps.org) Please forward a copy of your communications with school officials to _against.war [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:against.war [at] gmail.com) To contact Central High YAWR, call Shane Davis at 651-587-6923 or e-mail _shane89 [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:shane89 [at] gmail.com) fwd by Danene Provencher, Mound --------7 of 12-------- From: Carrie Anne Johnson <v0teyourheart [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Restrict Military Recruitment at Central High School! Restrict Military Recruitment at Central High! Open Letter to St. Paul Board of Education from Youth Against War & Racism Dear Board Members, Superintendent Carstarphen, and Principal Mackbee, As you may know, Youth Against War and Racism has been active at Central for over a year. One of our main activities is running a counter-recruitment table when military recruiters set up during our lunches. There, we tell the other side of the story and refute their incomplete, highly biased advertising. We distribute information about actual enlistee benefits, the risks of becoming a soldier, life in the military, and other related topics. In addition to running our table and distributing information, we have information pertaining to post high school resources and alternative job opportunities. Besides our table, we've organized protests, shown movies and held teach-ins, bringing informational speakers from around the world to Central. Last spring we held a petition drive and collected over 500 student signatures demanding that military recruiters leave our school now! YAWR believes it is ridiculous that military recruiters are present in school at all, and more so that they are allowed to act almost completely unchecked. However, we recognize that the No Child Left Behind Act in effect forces public schools to allow recruiters through funding policy. In response to that reality, we have launched a new petition drive at school around three demands that remain within the law, but makes recruiters act in a more acceptable, accountable manner that is more in line with the interests of students. We hope you will act rapidly to make the following demands official policy at Central and district-wide. 1. Restrict military recruiters to the Career Resource Center and prevent any unsupervised contact with students. With monthly quotas to fill, recruiters roam our school's halls, lunchroom, classrooms, and the parking lot, offering students free pens, bracelets, basketballs, footballs, and video games. During these times, there is no way to verify what they say is truthful, which is alarming considering the documented history recruiters have of using deceptive, manipulative tactics to mislead students. It is proven that recruiters lie to students; they have been caught in the past promising students they won't see combat, exaggerating the career and education opportunities offered by the military, and worse. Even more alarming is the August 20th, 2006 headline of the Pioneer Press: "Women Raped by Military Recruiters - More than 100 potential enlistees abused in past year." Recruiters haven't had background checks and aren't trained to the same level as other faculty. Plus, many recently returned from stressful war zones, which has proven to cause mental instability. Currently, college recruiters are located in the Career Resource Center behind the office, and students are required to get a pass from a teacher to go meet them. Why should the military be treated differently? Why should we be forced to walk past military men and women (and their displays advocating violence) on our way to lunch? 2. Stop military recruiters coming to Central High more often than any other post-secondary or job recruiting program actually comes. For example, if the University of Minnesota visits our school three times a year, and no other school visits more frequently, then the recruiters should be restricted to three visits. This policy would comply with section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act, which states: "Each local educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to prospective employers of those students." The purpose of school is to further a student's education and life potential; statistical information combined with testimonies from veterans and other activists (some firsthand to us) shows that the military rarely fits with this purpose. One third of all homeless people are veterans, and only 15 percent of GIs eventually get a four-year degree. Granted, the military might be right for a small percentage of individuals, but that is why schools have job and college fairs, and why there are numerous recruiting stations in the metro area. We don't need to be bombarded with the military's message on a near-weekly basis; colleges and other post-secondary institutions visit much less frequently, yet they are able to provide sufficient information for interested individuals. 3. YAWR gets seven days notice before recruiters can enter school grounds. Under equal access legal precedents, YAWR has the right to set up counter-recruitment tables whenever any military organization operates in our school. However, despite the administration repeated promises to the contrary, the military is seemingly allowed to come and go as they please, providing little to no prior notice. We feel that for our rights to be respected, and for our fellow students to get both sides of the story, Central High YAWR, along with the rest of the school body, should be guaranteed at least 7 days notice before recruiters are allowed into our school. Thanks in advance for considering our three policy proposals. We hope you will add discussion of them to your agenda on December 19th, where we will see you next --------5 of 12-------- From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Peace/hope salon 12.19 6:30pm HI, well it's that time of the year, so the salon on next Tuesday will consist of music and songs of peace and hope. Some people will be bringing their musical instruments for our pleasure. We will have treats and please contribute if you would like. thanks, patty The following Tuesday will be Open Discussion. The day after Christmas. we can tell each other how our "alternative Christmas" ideas panned out. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------8 of 12-------- From: altera vista <alteravista [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Michael Lerner/CTV 12.19 8pm Tuesday. Dec. 19, 8 pm, Mpls cable channel 16: "Creating a Culture of Love, Peace, and Justice"--speech by Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right, speaking at the Midwest Conference of Spiritual Progressives, Wesley Methodist Church, Mpls, Nov. 18, 2006. Repeated on St. Paul cable station 15 on Thursday, Dec. 28, 8:30 pm. --------9 of 12-------- Justice Deported Tuesday's immigration raids on meatpacking plants weren't about curbing identity theft, they were about union-busting. By David Bacon Web Exclusive: 12.14.06 In 1947, Woody Guthrie wrote a song about the crash of a plane carrying Mexican immigrant farm workers back to the border. In haunting lyrics he describes how it caught fire as it flew low over Los Gatos Canyon, near Coalinga at the edge of California's San Joaquin Valley. Observers below saw people and belongings flung out of the aircraft before it hit the ground, falling like leaves, he wrote. No record was kept of the workers' identities. They were simply listed as "deportee," and that became the name of the song. Far from being recognized as workers or even human beings, Guthrie lamented, the dead were treated as criminals. "They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves." Some things haven't changed much. When agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested over a thousand workers in six Swift and Company meatpacking plants on Tuesday, they too were called criminals. In Greeley, Colorado, agents dressed in SWAT uniforms even carried a hundred handcuffs with them into the plant. The workers, they said, were identity thieves. Barbara Gonzalez, an ICE spokesperson, told reporters outside the slaughterhouse there that "we have been investigating a large identity theft scheme that has victimized many U.S. citizens and lawful residents." ICE head Julie Myers told other reporters in Washington, D.C. that "those who steal identities of U.S. citizens will not escape enforcement." Not everyone fell into the ICE chorus. In Grand Island, Nebraska, site of another Swift plant, police chief Steve Lamken refused to help agents drag workers from the slaughterhouse. "When this is all over, we're still here," he told the local paper, "and if I have a significant part of my population that's fearful and won't call us, then that's not good for our community." In Greeley, hundreds of people, accompanied by the local priest, lined the street as their family members were brought out, shouting that they'd been guilty of nothing more than hard work. ICE rhetoric would have you believe these deportees had been planning to apply for credit cards and charge expensive stereos or trips to the spa. The reality is that these meatpacking laborers had done what millions of people in this country do every year. They gave a Social Security number to their employer that either didn't belong to them, or that didn't exist. And they did it for a simple reason: to get a job in one of the dirtiest, hardest, most dangerous workplaces in America. Mostly, these borrowed numbers probably belong to other immigrants who've managed to get green cards. But regardless of who they are, the real owners of the Social Security numbers will benefit, not suffer. Swift paid thousands of extra dollars into their Social Security accounts. The undocumented immigrants using the numbers will never be able to collect a dime in retirement pay for all their years of work on the killing floor. If anyone was cheated here, they were. But when ICE agents are calling the victims criminals in order to make their immigration raid sound like an action on behalf of upright citizens. ICE has not, of course, accused the immigrant workers of the real crime for which they were arrested. That's the crime of working. Since passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, hiring an undocumented worker has been a violation of federal law. Don't expect Swift executives to go to jail, however, or even to pay a fine. The real targets of this law are workers themselves, who become violators the minute they take a job. Arresting people for holding a job, however, sounds a little inconsistent with the traditional values of hard work supported so strongly by the Bush administration. It makes better PR to accuse workers of a crime that sends shivers down the spines of middle-class newspaper readers, already maxing out their credit cards in the holiday rush. The real motivation for these immigration raids is more cynical. The Swift action follows months of ICE pressuring employers to fire workers whose Social Security numbers don't match the agency's database. These no-match actions have been concentrated in workplaces where immigrants are organizing unions or standing up for their rights. At the Cintas laundry chain, over 400 workers were terminated in November alone, as a result of no-match letters. Cintas is the target of the national organizing drive by UNITE HERE, the hotel and garment workers union. In November also, hundreds walked out of the huge Smithfield pork processing plant in Tarheel, North Carolina, after the company fired 60 workers for Social Security discrepancies. That non-union plant is not just the national organizing target for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Smithfield has also been found guilty repeatedly of firing its employees for union activity, and threatening to use their immigration status against them. When workers at Emeryville, California's Woodfin Suites tried to enforce the city's new living wage law, Measure C, they too were suddenly hit with a no-match check. It's no accident that workers belong to unions in five of the six Swift meatpacking plants where this week's raids took place. ICE's pressure campaign recalls the history of immigration enforcement during previous periods when anti-immigration bills were debated the U.S. Congress, as they were this year. Before 1986, the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service conducted months of high-profile workplace raids, called Operation Jobs. INS used the raids to produce public support for the employer sanctions provision later written into the 1986 immigration law. In 1998, the INS mounted a huge enforcement action in Nebraska, also targeting meatpacking workers, called Operation Vanguard. Mark Reed, then INS District Director in Dallas, was open about its purpose - to get industry and Congress to support new bracero-type contract labor programs. "That's where we're going," he said in an interview at the time. "We depend on foreign labor. If we don't have illegal immigration anymore, we'll have the political support for guest workers." Today, ICE and the Bush administration also have an immigration program they want Congress to approve. Once again they want new guest- worker schemes, along with increased enforcement of employer sanctions. This fall, appealing to right-wing Republicans, the administration proposed new regulations to require employers to fire workers listed in a no-match letter, who can't resolve the discrepancy in their Social Security numbers. Employers like Cintas and Smithfield now claim anti-union firings are simply an effort to comply with Bush's new regulation, although it hasn't yet been issued. At Swift, the administration is sending a message to employers, and especially to unions: Support its program for immigration reform, or face a new wave of raids. "The significance is that we're serious about work site enforcement," threatened ICE chief Myers. After six years in office, ICE's choice of this moment to begin their campaign is more than suspect. It is designed to force the new Democratic congressional majority to make a choice. The administration is confident that Democrats will endorse workplace raids in order to appear "tough on illegal immigration" in preparation for the 2008 presidential elections. In doing so, they will have to attack two of the major groups who produced the votes that changed Congress in November - labor and Latinos. Since 1999, however, the AFL-CIO has called for the repeal of employer sanctions, along with the legalization of the 12 million people living in the United States without documents. One reason is that sanctions are used to punish workers for speaking out for better wages and conditions. Unions serious about organizing immigrants (and that's a lot of unions nowadays) have seen sanctions used repeatedly to smash their campaigns. But unions today also include many immigrant members. They want the organizations to which they pay their dues to stand up and fight when government agents bring handcuffs into the plant. The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents workers at Swift, did go into court on the day of the raid, asking for an injunction to stop the deportations and to guarantee workers their rights to habeas corpus and legal representation. But labor will need to do more than that. Unions and immigrants both need a bill that would mandate what they've advocated since 1999 - the repeal of employer sanctions. Workers without visas would still be subject to deportation, but enforcement wouldn't take place in the workplace, where sanctions deny basic labor rights to millions. The administration and Republicans in Congress wouldn't like that, nor would conservative Democrats. Reps. Rahm Emmanuel and Silvestre Reyes, even want sanctions beefed up. But Democrats and labor must make a choice. They can defend the workers, unions and immigrant families who gave them victory in November (voting Democratic 7 out of 10.) Or Democrats can, as they have so often done, turn their back in another triangulation sacrificing their base. They can join the government's chorus calling these workers criminals. Or they can recognize them as the human beings they are. David Bacon is a California photojournalist. His latest book, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University Press, 2006) documents immigrant communities, including those employed in the Swift plant in Omaha. http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww? section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12297 --------10 of 12-------- Instant Runoff Voting Is Catching On By Steven Hill t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor Monday 18 December 2006 Political reforms such as redistricting reform, fusion, and campaign finance reform have been floundering at the ballot box in recent years, rejected by voters in several states. But another political reform, instant runoff voting, has been quietly racking up impressive victories. Instant runoff voting (IRV), which allows voters to rank their candidates 1, 2, 3, made great strides forward during the November 7 elections. Voters in four different jurisdictions overwhelmingly approved ballot measures for IRV. In California, voters in Oakland approved the idea with a landslide 69 percent of the vote, as did 56 percent of voters in Davis. In Minneapolis, a landslide 65 percent of voters passed an IRV ballot measure, as did 53 percent of voters in Pierce County, Washington. What is interesting about the victories is that they happened in four very different locations. Oakland is a very diverse, working-class city; Minneapolis is a Midwestern-values city; Pierce County is a mix of rural/suburban/urban areas with many independent-minded voters; and Davis is a small university town. Yet in each place, IRV provided a unique solution to problems with representative government. Instant runoff voting ensures that officeholders are elected with a majority of the vote in a single November election. No separate runoffs or primaries are necessary. Voters rank their candidates, and if their first choice can't win, their vote goes to their second-ranked candidate as their runoff choice. Voters are liberated to vote for the candidates they really like without worrying about "spoilers." You can rank your favorite candidate first, knowing if she or he can't win, you haven't wasted your vote because it will go to your second choice. IRV is catching on, whether on the liberal coasts or in heartland America. North Carolina recently passed groundbreaking legislation to use IRV to fill vacancies for statewide judicial offices and for local elections, and there's talk of using it for all statewide offices. Driving the interest in North Carolina are elections like the runoff in 2004 for the Democratic nominee for superintendent of public instruction, which cost $3.5 million and produced a 3 percent voter turnout. Recently Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina, which already use two-round runoff elections for various races, began using IRV for their military/overseas voters because there is not enough time to mail a second ballot to them when a runoff election is required. Colorado recently became the first state to use IRV to fill a vacancy in the state legislature. Takoma Park, Maryland, will use IRV for the first time in 2007 to elect the mayor and city council. Burlington, Vermont, used IRV to elect its mayor last spring, spurring the introduction of bills in the state legislature for its use in statewide elections. Following the Minneapolis and Pierce County victories, the largest newspapers in Minnesota and Washington have called for IRV to be used to elect state offices. San Francisco voters launched the IRV movement in 2002 when they passed it for local elections, and San Francisco has used it now for three elections. Several exit polls have demonstrated that San Francisco voters across all racial, age and economic lines like ranking their ballots and understand IRV. Since San Francisco's trailblazing voyage, nine ballot measures for IRV have been passed by voters, often with landslide margins. The movement toward use of IRV is gaining momentum because it answers a real need. It's one of the best solutions to public frustration with unresponsive and unaccountable government. IRV makes voters feel like their votes count, because they are not stuck always choosing the lesser of two evils; they can cast their vote for their favorite candidate, knowing if she or he can't win, they haven't thrown their vote away on a spoiler. IRV opens politics to new candidates and their ideas, increases political debate, and even discourages negative campaigning as candidates try to win rankings from the supporters of their opponents. For all these reasons, instant runoff voting is now the hot reform to watch as Americans grapple with how to improve our democracy and make elected officials more accountable to We the Voters. [There is now a movement to bring IRV to StPaul - ed] --------11 of 12-------- ANOTHER PENNSYLVANIA TOWNSHIP STRIPS CORPORATIONS OF 'RIGHTS' From: Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Dec. 6, 2006 Chambersburg, Pa. -- On December 6th, 2006, the Board of Supervisors for East Brunswick Township in Schuylkill County, Pa., unanimously passed a law declaring that sludge corporations possess no constitutional "rights" within the community. East Brunswick is the eighth local government in the country to abolish the illegitimate "rights" and legal privileges claimed by corporations, and the fourth community in the nation to recognize the rights of nature. The ordinance takes the offense in challenging corporate managers in Pennsylvania and around the nation, who effortlessly wield those constitutional "rights" and legal privileges to dictate corporate values and nullify local laws. The East Brunswick Township law (1) bans corporations from engaging in the land application of sewage sludge within the Township; (2) recognizes that ecosystems in East Brunswick possess enforceable rights against corporations; (3) asserts that corporations doing business in East Brunswick will henceforth be treated as "state actors" under the law, and thus, be required to respect the rights of people and natural communities within the Township; and (4) establishes that East Brunswick residents can bring lawsuits to vindicate not only their own civil rights, but also the newly-mandated rights of Nature. In the ordinance, the Township Board of Supervisors declared that if state and federal agencies - or corporate managers - attempt to invalidate the ordinance, a Township-wide public meeting would be hosted to determine additional steps to expand local control and self- governance within the Township. Adoption of the ordinance came after community residents organized educational forums and hosted the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss its rights-based strategy for confronting corporate and state preemptions of community self-governance. Annette Etchberger, Regina Wiyda and Dr. Glen Freed took the lead in generating tremendous public support for an ordinance that asserts rights and creates tools for their enforcement. Traveling door-to-door and inviting hundreds to attend meetings that typically draw a handful of citizens, they put pressure on defiant Township Supervisors, who reluctantly called special meetings for discussion of the cutting edge law. Success was not immediate. Faced with intense public pressure from residents who packed meetings and insisted on passage of the ordinance, former Vice Chairman Mark J. Killian Sr. resigned on October 12th and former supervisor Glenn Miller, resigned on November 1st. They had been unwilling to act upon the will of the people by confronting the sludge-hauling corporations. Their resignations delayed consideration of the law until replacements were appointed. But on December 6th, with a newly constituted Board of Supervisors, the ordinance was passed unanimously. Ben Price, the Projects Director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, the organization that helped draft the ordinance said, "The East Brunswick Township Board of Supervisors has, at last, heard the voice of the people and acted in the best interests of human and natural communities. Instead of protecting the interests of corporate directors for sludge hauling corporations, they've taken their oaths seriously, to protect the health, safety and welfare of everyone in East Brunswick. The people of East Brunswick Township have for months been demanding that their Supervisors challenge the usurpation of local democracy by corporate officers. They've been telling their elected officials that it is time to confront the illegitimate delegation of constitutional privileges on corporations, and reject the State's nullification of community self-governance. On December 6th, they finally listened." Richard Grossman, the Legal Defense Fund's historian, noted: "A slave system once drove the entire country, North and South. Our nation is now governed by a corporate system. Like the slave system, today's corporate system calls upon the law to deny fundamental rights of people and communities. "East Brunswick has joined other Pennsylvania municipalities in contesting the constitutional, legal and cultural chains that bind communities to the corporate system. They have heroically nullified corporate privilege delivered from on high by exercising democratic rule of law from below." The East Brunswick ordinance is the result of countywide ferment against state regulatory agency interference in local decision-making on behalf of sludge and dredge corporations. Thousands of people in Schuylkill County now see that regulatory laws and agencies aid and abet corporate managers to dump their toxins, pathogens and carcinogens in people's front yards and into the living environment. In September of this year Tamaqua Borough and Rush Township passed similar ordinances. Schuylkill County has a long history of people's struggles to wrest rights and governance from oppressive corporate railroad and coal barons. As Prof. Grace Palladino has detailed in her gripping history, Another Civil War - Labor, Capital, and the State in the Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania, 1840-1868, "in the coal regions... corporate lawyers and government officials creatively interpreted the law. Industrialists retained a remarkable ability to command the coercive power of the state to protect their particular economic interests." Since the 1840s, as the people who live there well know, corporations have used the County as a resource colony. Today, state and federal government officials join corporate directors in viewing Schuylkill County as a "sacrifice zone" where they can simply plug the old corporate holes that enriched a few tyrants with new corporate poisons that help fuel today's corporate system. Schuylkill citizens are asserting their inalienable rights, and are rallying to pass local laws to create democratic self-governance in the County. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, located in Chambersburg, has been working with people in Pennsylvania since 1995 to assert their fundamental rights to democratic self-governance, and to enact laws that end destructive and rights-denying corporate action aided and abetted by state and federal governments. [If corporations are persons, sock 'm on the chin and knock 'em out. -ed] --------12 of 12-------- Corporations are persons - proof: they piss and crap on us night and day. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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