|Progressive Calendar 03.20.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 05:05:53 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.20.08 1. New Hope demo 3.20 4:30pm 2. Eagan vigil 3.20 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 3.20 5pm 4. BrooklynPark cops 3.20 5pm 5. Green careers 3.20 6pm 6. Developing ctrys 3.20 7pm 7. Amnesty Intl 3.20 7:15pm 8. Freya Manfred 3.20 7:30pm 9. Brecht play 3.20 8pm 10. Green jobs/KFAI 3.21 11am 11. Anti-war rally 3.21 5:30pm Duluth MN 12. Full frontal moon 3.21 7pm 13. DU poison dust 3.21 8pm Duluth MN 14. Moyers/war 3.21 9pm 15. Atheists convene 3.21-23 16. Robert Jensen - Beyond peace 17. PC Roberts - Bankrupt: The collapse of American power 18. Federico Fuentes - Latin America rejects Bush Doctrine --------1 of 18-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 3.20 4:30pm NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd. You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners. Bring your own or use our signs. --------2 of 18-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan vigil 3.20 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 18-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 3.20 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 18-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net> Subject: BrooklynPark cops 3.20 5pm BROOKLYN PARK YOUTH ARE UNDER ATTACK-- WE'RE GONNA STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK! Brooklyn Park cops have always been on our radar screen. For as long as we've had the hotline, BP is the suburb we get the most complaints about. At times, they outranked St. Paul (before Harrington became St. Paul's police chief). So there has always been a problem with racially insensitive and outright thuggish cops in BP. Their latest move has been to target and attempt to criminalize youth of color and white youth who stand with them. We are working on a number of these cases, in which youth have been arrested standing in the front yard of their own homes, harassed and arrested at school, etc. In one case, some youth were at school when a fight broke out at the end of the day. These young people were not in the fight and had nothing to do with it. As they tried to leave the school, the cop assigned to the school demanded to know the names of the kids involved in the fight. When these youth told the cop they didn't know the names, they were arrested and brought up on false charges, which have changed several times. This is just one of several incidents. Youth in these various incidents will be going to court soon but we need to send a strong message to the BP cops now: "hands off our kids!" Please join us for a little "education" session with the BP cops. We'll be holding signs in front of the Brooklyn Park police department at rush hour on a busy main artery: Thursday, March 20 5:00 p.m. Brooklyn Park Municipal Plaza 5400 85th Street (Intersection with Regent) Brooklyn Park --------5 of 18-------- From: Do it Green! <Do_it_Green [at] mail.vresp.com> Subject: Green careers 3.20 6pm Green career opportunities are unlimited but how do you snag one? What can you do now to get on your green career track and start working for a sustainable world? Barbara Parks from Green Career Tracks will help you answer these questions and get you started on creating your own customized green career plan. Thursday, March 20th: Green Careers with Barbara Parks of Green Career Tracks Time: 6-8 PM Location: North Regional Public Library (1315 Lowry Ave. N., Mpls) --------6 of 18-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Developing ctrys 3.20 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale & Hennepin) Park in church lot. Thursday, March 20, 7-9pm. PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES "Developing" and "developed" countries face different challenges and their perspectives are thus frequently at odds. This session will provide an overview of the nature of key problems faced by developing countries and of the historical and geographic contexts in which they arose and it will help us to know what to look for in interpreting international conflict and advocate effective and just solutions. It will raise controversial hypotheses on the relationships between developing and developed countries that have led to conflict and will offer some ideas for solutions. Presenter: PROFESSOR GAIL HUGHES. Dr. Hughes' eclectic background includes service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho and as an Independent Volunteer teaching development studies in Botswana; Ph.D studies at the U. of M. with a specialization in curriculum studies; a year of post-graduate research at the East-West Center in Hawaii; twelve years as a program evaluator with the Minnesota Community College System; teaching interdisciplinary social science and sociology at St. Cloud State University (in part in the Honors Program); and, at present, teaching graduate courses in the School of Education at Capella University. Dr. Hughes is also a Board Member of CGS, Minnesota. --------7 of 18-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 3.20 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) meets Thursday, March 20th, at 7:15 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------8 of 18-------- From: Freya Manfred and Thomas Pope <manfredandpope [at] frontiernet.net> Subject: Freya Manfred 3.20 7:30pm I'd love to have you join us at THE LOFT in Mpls on Thursday, March 20th, at 7:30 p.m. I'm reading from my new book, SWIMMING WITH A HUNDRED YEAR OLD SNAPPING TURTLE (Red Dragonfly Press) and Louis Jenkins, the Duluth prose poet whose work is hilarious, unexpected, and profound will read from NORTH OF THE CITIES. --------9 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Brecht play 3.20 8pm CONTACT: Frank Theatre, 612 724 3760, info [at] franktheatre.org FRANK THEATRE PRESENTS BERTOLT BRECHT'S "PUNTILA AND HIS HIRED MAN MATTI" Minneapolis, MN-- Frank Theatre presents Bertolt Brecht's PUNTILA AND HIS HIRED MAN MATTI March 20-April 13 at the Bridge Building in the City of Minneapolis Public Works yard located at 26th and Hiawatha in south Minneapolis (1907 East 27th Street). Performances are March 20 (preview)-April 13, Thurs-Sat. at 8:00, and Sundays at 2:00. (Sunday, March 23 is a pay-what-you-can performance, with a suggested donation of $12.) Please call for information on our audio described performance. The Sunday performances are followed by a post-show panel discussion with members of the community. Tickets are $14-20; for reservations and information, call (612) 724 3760, or visit the theatre's website at www.franktheatre.org. PUNTILA AND HIS HIRED MAN MATTI is based on a story by Finnish writer Hella Wuolijoki, whom Brecht met while living in exile in Finland. Subtitled "A People's Play," PUNTILA revolves around the misadventures of Mr. Puntila, a wealth landowner, and his chauffeur, Matti. Puntila is fun-loving, humane and generous when he is inebriated, but when he suffers his stone-cold "attacks of sobriety," he becomes mean, petty and selfish. A "vivacious" daughter unhappily engaged to an Attaché (who is marrying her to pay off his debts), four bawdy working women who are just looking for a good time and "bit of slap and tickle," the delicate facades of the upper-class, and a "hired man" who sees through it all combine to make this a bawdy, raucous "folk play" that deliciously pokes at the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Brecht was a great admirer of Charlie Chaplin, and PUNTILA echoes Chaplin's The Tramp and the Millionaire in his film City Lights. By using broad humor to turn issues of class upside down, PUNTILA is a bawdy comedy that echoes Brecht's experience living in Finland. For further information, please contact Frank Theatre at (612) 724 3760, or at info [at] franktheatre.org. or check us out at www.franktheatre.org. --------10 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Green jobs/KFAI 3.21 11am Fri.Mar. 21, 11am on KFAI Radio Tune in to hear a conversation about Environmental Justice & Green Jobs. In Pittsburg last week, the Blue-Green Alliance (Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers union) hosted a conference on Green Jobs. Two Twin Cities activists were there: Karen Monahan of EJAM/Environmentqal Justice Activists MN and ELEONOR WESSERLE of the WEI/Women's Environmental Institute. The coalition between environmentalists and labor is a crucial development for both addressing the climate crisis, the need for renewable, non-carbon energy and serious, continuing job losses across the country. But, will everyone be included in the new "Green economy" that was excluded in the old "pollution economy"? Environmental justice was only marginal to this conference and that's one of many questions raised in this report-back. Interview by CATALYST host Lydia Howell. CATALYST:politics & culture every Friday, 11am followed at 11:30am by NORTHERN SUN NEWS, hosted by Don Olson: the HOUR OF PEOPLE POWER on KFAI Radio, 90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St. Paul All shows archived for 2 weeks after broadcast at http://www.kfai.org --------11 of 18-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Anti-war rally 3.21 5:30pm Duluth MN Friday, 3/21, 5:30 pm, march, rally and film showing "5 Years Too Many!" March from Lake Ave and Superior St, Washington Center, for a march to the YWCA with indoor rally, potluck, and mini-film fest at the YWCA Trepanier Hall, Duluth. http://www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com or 715-394-6660. --------12 of 18-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Full frontal moon 3.21 7pm Good Friday Full Moon Walk Around the Coldwater Area Friday, March 21, 7:00 p.m. Minnehaha Park, 54th Street South, Minneapolis (South End of the Pay Parking Lot). Daffodils and tulips are pushing up, days are longer than nights now. This is the time of the storm moon and it's just past Spring Equinox. Celebrate the return of long days and green dreams. Traditional group howl! FFI: Visit <www.friendsofcoldwater.org>. --------13 of 18-------- From: Nukewatch <nukewatch [at] lakeland.ws> Subject: DU poison dust 3.21 8pm Duluth MN The documentary film "Poison Dust: A New Look at U.S. Radioactive Weapons" - highlighting the effects of uranium weapons on veterans returning from Iraq - will be shown 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 21 at the Duluth YWCA, 202 W 2nd St., Duluth, MN. Part of the Northland Anti-war Coalition's Anti-war march, rally, potluck and film fest. Assemble at 5:30 p.m. at the MN Power Plaza [Lake Ave. & Superior St., Duluth] for a march to the YWCA's Trepanier Hall - where there'll be an indoor rally at 6:15 p.m., a potluck/social and silent auction at 7 p.m., and a mini-film fest starting at 8pm. Information: <http://northlandantiwar.blogspot.com/> --------14 of 18-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/war 3.21 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Casualty of War http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/031908U.shtml This week on Bill Moyers Journal, "former talk show host Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro on the true cost of war and their documentary, 'Body of War,' depicting the moving story of one veteran dealing with the aftermath of war." --------15 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Atheists convene 3.21-23 March 21-23, American Atheists 34th Convention. Minneapolis Marriott City Center, 30 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402. Speakers include Richard Dawkins. Online registration at https://lightning.he.net/~atheists/conference/c2008registration.php. --------16 of 18-------- Beyond Peace By Robert Jensen March 19, 2008 ZNet Commentary [The following essay was written in response to a request from students at a Massachusetts middle school for essays about peace contributing to what they hope will be "the largest book in the world on the subject of peace." For more information about the project, go to http://www.pagesforpeace.com/] It has long been a staple of the antiwar movement that there can be no meaningful peace without justice on a global scale. Those of us living in the First World, especially in the United States, cannot pretend to be working for peace unless we also are working for a more just and equitable distribution of the world's resources. The antiwar/peace movement, therefore, must also be a movement focused on the grotesque inequalities in a predatory corporate capitalist system. In a world where half the population lives on less than $2 a day, it's clear that (a) the global economy is itself a form of war on billions of people, sometimes as destructive as shooting wars, and (b) that in such an profoundly unjust world, armed conflict is inevitable because there always will be resistance to this inequality, and powerful states will respond militarily to any threat, real or perceived, to their dominance. In other words: No justice, no peace. Now it's time for those of us in the peace-and-justice movement in the First World, especially in the United States, to take the next step: We must recognize that there can be no justice over the long term without sustainability, and creating a sustainable world will require not only radical change in systems and structures of power but also a radical change in the way we in affluent societies live. It's time to recognize that if we are serious about the values of equality that we claim to be the core of our politics, we must scale back the level at which we live. In other words: No reduction in First World consumption, no justice; and no justice, no peace. Put simply: One cannot be a serious peace activist without putting peace in the context of justice and sustainability, and the high-energy/high-tech lifestyle of the First World is not sustainable and not compatible with the demands of justice. Meaningful peace requires real justice, which means we must learn to live with less. We could start to move toward the changes necessary by applying a "Golden Rule" of consumption. Working from the common moral principle that we should follow a path based on rules that we would be willing to apply to all (and some version of this Golden Rule exists in all ethical and theological systems), we could begin with this: Consume at a level that, if applied throughout the world, would allow all people a decent life consistent with long-term sustainability. That doesn't prescribe a destination but suggests a direction; instead of anyone sanctimoniously dictating a specific lifestyle, we can collectively recognize that we must move toward living lower on the food chain, using far less energy, consuming far fewer of the planet's limited resources, generating far less toxic waste. (For a more detailed exploration of this argument, see "What is a moral level of consumption?" http://www.counterpunch.org/jensen10302003.html.) While some might see this as a sacrifice - and in some sense, of course, we will have to give up material things that we have come to rely on and enjoy - this moment in history also provides us with a chance to redefine what it means to live a good life. Rather than accept the mad scramble to accumulate goods and insulate ourselves from the natural world - the good life as defined in a consumer capitalist society awash in high-tech toys and mass-mediated entertainment - we can reorient ourselves toward the traditional definition of a good life in terms of community and connection with others, service and sacrifice for others, and a deeper sense of meaning for ourselves. Eloquent calls for peace are easy to make from the material comfort of the First World. Moving beyond that to a demand for meaningful justice gets us closer to the goal. A commitment to moving toward a sustainable level of consumption should be at the core of this work. It will be a struggle, of course, often confusing and sometimes painful. But we can remember that there is joy in the struggle for a better world, which is always at the same time a struggle to become more fully human. Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center http://thirdcoastactivist.org. His latest book is Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007). http://www.southendpress.org/2007/items/87767 Jensen is also the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Race, Racism, and White Privilege and Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (both from City Lights Books); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang). He can be reached at rjensen [at] uts.cc.utexas.edu and his articles can be found online at http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html. --------17 of 18-------- A Bankrupt Superpower The Collapse of American Power By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch March 18, 2008 In his famous book, The Collapse of British Power (1972), Correlli Barnett reports that in the opening days of World War II Great Britain only had enough gold and foreign exchange to finance war expenditures for a few months. The British turned to the Americans to finance their ability to wage war. Barnett writes that this dependency signaled the end of British power. From their inception, America's 21st century wars against Afghanistan and Iraq have been red ink wars financed by foreigners, principally the Chinese and Japanese, who purchase the US Treasury bonds that the US government issues to finance its red ink budgets. The Bush administration forecasts a $410 billion federal budget deficit for this year, an indication that, as the US saving rate is approximately zero, the US is not only dependent on foreigners to finance its wars but also dependent on foreigners to finance part of the US government's domestic expenditures. Foreign borrowing is paying US government salaries - perhaps that of the President himself - or funding the expenditures of the various cabinet departments. Financially, the US is not an independent country. The Bush administration's $410 billion deficit forecast is based on the unrealistic assumption of 2.7% GDP growth in 2008, whereas in actual fact the US economy has fallen into a recession that could be severe. There will be no 2.7% growth, and the actual deficit will be substantially larger than $410 billion. Just as the government's budget is in disarray, so is the US dollar which continues to decline in value in relation to other currencies. The dollar is under pressure not only from budget deficits, but also from very large trade deficits and from inflation expectations resulting from the Federal Reserve's effort to stabilize the very troubled financial system with large injections of liquidity. A troubled currency and financial system and large budget and trade deficits do not present an attractive face to creditors. Yet Washington in its hubris seems to believe that the US can forever rely on the Chinese, Japanese and Saudis to finance America's life beyond its means. Imagine the shock when the day arrives that a US Treasury auction of new debt instruments is not fully subscribed. The US has squandered $500 billion dollars on a war that serves no American purpose. Moreover, the $500 billion is only the out-of-pocket costs. It does not include the replacement cost of the destroyed equipment, the future costs of care for veterans, the cost of the interests on the loans that have financed the war, or the lost US GDP from diverting scarce resources to war. Experts who are not part of the government's spin machine estimate the cost of the Iraq war to be as much as $3 trillion. The Republican candidate for President said he would be content to continue the war for 100 years. With what resources? When America's creditors consider our behavior they see total fiscal irresponsibility. They see a deluded country that acts as if it is a privilege for foreigners to lend to it, and a deluded country that believes that foreigners will continue to accumulate US debt until the end of time. The fact of the matter is that the US is bankrupt. David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the US and head of the Government Accountability Office, in his December 17, 2007, report to the US Congress on the financial statements of the US government noted that "the federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding assets) and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2007." In everyday language, the US government cannot pass an audit. Moreover, the GAO report pointed out that the accrued liabilities of the federal government "totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007." No funds have been set aside against this mind boggling liability. Just so the reader understands, $53 trillion is $53,000 billion. Frustrated by speaking to deaf ears, Walker recently resigned as head of the Government Accountability Office. As of March 17, 2008, one Swiss franc is worth more than $1 dollar. In 1970, the exchange rate was 4.2 Swiss francs to the dollar. In 1970, $1 purchased 360 Japanese yen. Today $1 dollar purchases less than 100 yen. If you were a creditor, would you want to hold debt in a currency that has such a poor record against the currency of a small island country that was nuked and defeated in WW II, or against a small landlocked European country that clings to its independence and is not a member of the EU? Would you want to hold the debt of a country whose imports exceed its industrial production? According to the latest US statistics as reported in the February 28 issue of Manufacturing and Technology News, in 2007 imports were 14 percent of US GDP and US manufacturing comprised 12% of US GDP. A country whose imports exceed its industrial production cannot close its trade deficit by exporting more. The dollar has even collapsed in value against the euro, the currency of a make-believe country that does not exist: the European Union. France, Germany, Italy, England and the other members of the EU still exist as sovereign nations. England even retains its own currency. Yet the euro hits new highs daily against the dollar. Noam Chomsky recently wrote that America thinks that it owns the world. That is definitely the view of the neoconized Bush administration. But the fact of the matter is that the US owes the world. The US "superpower" cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid. The US will never repay the loans. The American economy has been devastated by offshoring, by foreign competition, and by the importation of foreigners on work visas, while it holds to a free trade ideology that benefits corporate fat cats and shareholders at the expense of American labor. The dollar is failing in its role as reserve currency and will soon be abandoned. When the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to pay its bills by borrowing more from foreigners. I sometimes wonder if the bankrupt "superpower" will be able to scrape together the resources to bring home the troops stationed in its hundreds of bases overseas, or whether they will just be abandoned. ["Hey, Frank, how are we getting home?" "Beats me Fred - maybe we swim?"] Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------18 of 18-------- Latin America rejects Bush Doctrine [Up yours, W!] By Federico Fuentes March 18, 2008 Federico Fuentes's ZSpace Page (Caracas, 14 March 2008) Reeling from the blow that it received in the aftermath of the Colombian military's illegal incursion on March 1 into Ecuador - which resulted in the brutal massacre of a number of civilians and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including its chief negotiator Raul Reyes - US imperialism has once again raised the ante in its struggle to undermine the growing process of Latin American integration. Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, led by President Hugo Chavez whose government is spearheading the push to unite Latin American nations to counter US domination, is being specifically targeted. "The region is facing an increasingly stark choice: to quietly accept the vision of the terrorists and the demagogues, or to actively support democratic leaders", US President George Bush stated on March 12. Bush said his government was studying whether or not Venezuela should be added to its list of countries that "sponsor terrorism". In Washington's Orwellian world view - where war is peace and elected leaders are dictators - his comments were aimed at Venezuela's democratically-elected government that is offering its services to assist with a negotiated peaceful solution to Colombia's more than four decade-long civil war. Venezuela's representative in the Organization of American States (OAS), Jorge Valero, hit back that same day, calling the US government "the terrorist government par excellence". Valero argued it was "an absolutely stupid thing to say from the government of Mr Bush - that practices state terrorism, that has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan without respect for international law, that commits genocidal practices in various parts of the world, that has invaded Latin American and Caribbean countries ." Having viewed Latin America as its own backyard for decades, Washington is becoming increasingly concerned about developments south of its border. Its biggest headache is Venezuela, whose government has been making important headway in bring together governments of Latin America, as well as undermining capitalism inside Venezuela. Washington has waged a constant public campaign (similar to its campaign against Iraq before the invasion) attempting to link Venezuela with narcotrafficking, terrorism, promoting an arms race, money laundering and threats to regional security. US-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger argued on the Venezuelan TV show La Hojilla that this campaign is aimed at containing Chavez's influence and undermining Latin American integration - a process aided by the election of a number of governments that, to varying degrees, have proven willing to exercise independence from Washington and pursue closer regional collaboration. For Dario Azzellini, author of several books about US military intervention into the region, Colombia's illegal cross-border attack (publicly supported by the US government, which funds and arms the Colombian military) was the first step in carrying out more serious military infractions across its border in order to provoke a response from Venezuela and lay the blame for the subsequent conflict at their feet. "Their aim is to create massive destabilisation in a region where Colombia would play a similar role to that of Israel in the Middle East", Azzellini told Green Left Weekly. "The Colombian government said that they had the coordinates of Reyes whereabouts for month, during which we can suppose that he moved between Colombian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorian territory as part of the current negotiations by the FARC in releasing prisoners. So the question is why did they choose to carry it out in Ecuador? "It was a test, they wanted to do it in Ecuadorian territory and not in Venezuela to see what the international reaction would be." Luis Bilbao, director of Latin American magazine America XXI, told GLW US imperialism had two aims in mind with Colombia's attack (which was clearly coordinated with the US) - put a halt to the hopes for humanitarian accord with the FARC, who only days before had released four prisoners unilaterally, and sabotage the growing South American convergence. Finding a political solution to Colombia's current conflict is a danger to Washington, which has used it as justification to build up their military presence in Colombia. This is why the issue of peace in Colombia is so closely intertwined with the process of Latin American integration. Colombia's attack came just days before global protests in favour of a peaceful solution to Colombia's civil war and against state and paramilitary violence, which targets political activists, with more trade unionists killed in Colombia every year than any other country. On March 6, hundreds of thousands marched across Colombia, defying threats of reprisals from paramilitaries. Associated Press reported on March 14 that six organisers of the march had been murdered, and two dozen more received death threats from the Black Eagles death squad. Moreover, Bilbao pointed out that in the immediate aftermath of this event, it seemed unthinkable that the meeting of the South American Community of Nations (Unasur, formed in April 2002 with the aim of creating a European Union-style body across South America) that had been scheduled to take place in Colombia at the end of the month could have gone ahead. Such a turn of events would suit Washington, as the development of Unasur threatens the ability of the US to exert its control over the region on behalf of US corporate interests. Bilbao argued that the action was nonetheless a big mistake on the part of Colombia. Bilbao argued that "they didn't attack Venezuela", as Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro had stated Venezuela expected, "because of the firm stance that Venezuela has taken and instead attacked Ecuador expecting a timid response - setting a precedent for further repeat actions in Ecuador and to extend this to Venezuela". However the firm stance by both Ecuador and Venezuela - both of whose governments broke diplomatic ties and moved troops to their Colombian borders - put Colombia on the back foot. In fact, rather than reverse the trend towards integration, the response to Colombia's attack could mark an important regional realignment - assisting the process of regional integration. The most significant event was the summit of the Group of Rio held on March 6 and 7. Televised live across the whole continent, representatives of all Latin American governments debated the issue without the presence of the US government. After a fiery debate, the meeting came to a unanimous decision to reject the actions of the Colombian government and any further violation of the sovereignty of another country. Crucially, the vote was a rejection of the doctrine of "preventive war" that the US has pushed since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ecuador and Colombia are pushing for the March 17 meeting of the OAS (of which the US is a member) to ratify the Group of Rio's motion. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has stated bluntly that if the OAS meeting did not condemn the aggression, that it should be thrown "in the dustbin of history". Arguing that it would be "difficult for the US government to oppose such a resolution", Valero asserted that "I don't believe the United States has sufficient strength to crush the will of the Rio Group countries". ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 Up yours W!
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