I’m back..

Fifteen years ago to the day, on 9/11 I was so appalled by the decision of the US to invade Iraq, I decided then that I would drop everything and commit my life to being the change I wanted to see. During this time, despite not having all the luxuries in the world, I made it work.

Needless to say, it’s been an infinitely long and winding road and I have struggled to find my way professionally. Following the ‘economic collapse’ and the extreme change in housing and employment opportunities I felt forced to give up on activism, in pursuit of the ‘American dream’. I even tried to be “normal” and think about my future/retirement etc. and that’s why i got into insurance…needless to say that didn’t last long! But hey, I tried..

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Locking down to Stop Urban Shield at Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton. Ca. Sept 11, 2016

I am now committed to move towards being able to do my activism full time again, and have recently accepted a p/t position as the West Coast Representative with a publishing company called Just World Books and its sister/nonprofit educational organization Just World Educational. Please check out the amazing books and authors, and let me know if you would like to host an event at your community group, nonprofit org or academic institution.
Please do also keep me in mind for other gigs you think I would be a good fit for!
I know i am blessed and privileged to be able to do this work full time. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If everyone just does whatever little or great in their power, we would be so much better off. One thing we can all do right now is, sign the following petition by Barbara Lee to Congress: Repeal the blank check for endless war. Plus the future just may depend on it. In the words of a native tribal elder, and protector of the water and the earth:
This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the great myth of progress and development that ruled the last millennium. To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide
You alone – and only you – can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.
Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?
Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending. https://ravenredbone.com/…/important-message-from-keeper-o…/ #NODAPL

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It feels good to be back.

Peace, love and revolution♥

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A Call for Solidarity with Palestine and the World’s Oppressed

Today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, comes at a time of intensified aggression by occupation forces and violence in Palestine and throughout the region. As conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate globally, the situation is amongst the worst facing Palestinians since 1948. In Palestine, Zionist settlement expansion continues to usurp more land unabated in the West Bank, while settler and soldier violence has reached relentless levels in all of historic Palestine. Meanwhile, Gaza has experienced three devastating assaults by Israel since 2008 — which according to a recent UN report will render the strip uninhabitable within five years. Individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.

Palestinians have watched helplessly, as every so called peace process since Oslo, has only served to provide Israel with diplomatic cover, to kill and blatantly steal more land and consolidate power. Meanwhile, the international “quartet” tasked with negotiating a solution are consumed by violence they are responsible for creating, thus rendering hopeless any chance of creating a more peaceful solution, in the foreseeable future. As the complacent Palestinian leadership, tasked with the role of suppressing resistance, serves to accelerate the colonization of our homeland –the situation becomes more desperate than ever. In what many have called a Third Intifada, individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.

The acts of resistance by Palestinian youth are spontaneous expressions of anger – yet lack sufficient organization and strategic direction, calling into question whether the demonstrations can be sustained. Despite a lack of political leadership or clear organization, the Palestinian people continue their struggle for freedom against one of the world’s largest and most powerful militaries in the world. Regardless of what it’s called, the biggest achievement of the latest surge of rebellions is its ability to reactivate the youth to directly confront Zionism. Palestinian Youth Movement Call for Solidarity To combat this Zionist project of erasure, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) the only transnational, independent, grassroots movement made up of Palestinians in exile, and within historic Palestine, put out the following statement:

On this international day of solidarity November 29, 2015, the PYM calls on Palestinians worldwide and the solidarity movement to join us in support of the Palestinian resistance, culminating in an international mobilization on this day, and until Palestine is free: Our aspirations for justice and liberation motivate us to assume an active role as a young generation in our national struggle for the liberation of our homeland and people. In recent weeks, Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the target of particularly brutal assaults while arbitrary killings are committed daily by the Zionist military and settlers and mass youth arrests are implemented in Palestine. In response to this Zionist violence, we must recognise that resistance is a mandatory element to surviving in the face of an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing.

Solidarity glimmers, beyond an otherwise bleak horizon

As a principle, solidarity with the world’s oppressed provides a guiding light of how to navigate in an increasingly hostile, complex and violent world. Every day in the corporate media – from Palestine to Iraq, Syria, Ferguson and beyond, we are bombarded with images of mass violence and those spewing hate against poor people and people of color. Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers–in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel’s borders and in the diaspora. Settlers, police and soldiers are portrayed as the victims, while given free range and even incited by government officials to kill with impunity, while media pundits provide no context or cause of the violence.

In 2005, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call was signed by more than 170 civil society organizations and has gained unprecedented global success, and its leadership has filled an important vacuum left by the traditional political parties. Likewise solidarity for Palestinians means overcoming the media misinformation and recognizing that #BlackLivesMatter and Indigenous peoples around the world that are killed with the same impunity. For us to be in solidarity means we too must make these connections and understand that all state violence is connected – while working to address the root causes. BDS is central to our movement, however BDS alone is not enough.

A genuine strategy for Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers–in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel’s borders and in the diaspora. The Palestinian working class can then make regional and international alliances with all those seeking the democratic self- activity necessary for liberation. Road Map to Peace, Where to Begin? Solidarity statements with Palestine are an important first step. Yet to transform the oppressive nature of occupation, we must navigate from this initial symbolic show of support – to practical liberatory action. We can begin by looking at historic and current examples – both of which provide an excellent source of inspiration.

As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America. Emigrating after the First World War, Palestinians created the first Palestinian institutions outside of Palestine, in Latin America. As early as 1920 and by 1947 there was a strong lobby in several countries against the partition of Palestine by the United Nations.Today Latin American solidarity is expressed in a variety of forms of delegations and cooperation, and organizations in Latin America demanding their governments break all relations with Israel. As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Pinochet in Chile. Today Israel shares “expertise” with U.S. police under “various facets of counter-terrorism and first response to better protect the American people.” And as “cooperation” increases we see in both instances, an increasing number of victims are blamed for their own murders, even when evidence is clear they provided no threat whatsoever. me

Exporting Global Repression

Israel is perfecting surveillance, and one of the top occupation profiteers, through the surveillance of the Palestinian people. Using knowledge and expertise gained from assisting in the occupation of Palestinians, the Israeli defense systems company, Elbit, has made millions exporting surveillance worldwide – and increasingly in Latin America. While, Israel’s role in arming dictators and oppressive regimes in Latin America during the last century is well documented, Elbit, is at the forefront of a new growing movement working in at least five Latin American countries, as well as along the U.S.-Mexico border. Elbit – Crossing Borders, Building Fortress Walls The technology Elbit is using to profit off of the “Wall of Death” along the U.S.-Mexico border was first deployed in Palestine along Israel’s Apartheid Wall that in 2004. The International Court of Justice ruled was illegal, and must be torn down, and that Israel must pay reparations. Despite this ruling, Elbit continues to participate in the maintenance of the Wall, thereby being complicit in a grave breach of international law, which is a war crime. palmex

G4S – Leading Repression in Palestine and Globally

In August 2015, more than 1,100 prominent Black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations signed a historic Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine. As part of the BDS campaign, they are taking up targeting the British security company G4S that backs Israel’s notorious prisons. From their statement: “G4S is the world’s largest private security company. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the U.S. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia.

This article was originally published in Telesur.

SHOW DOWN AT THE PORT OF OAKLAND

Last night for the first time, since my friend who has worked on the port for at least 25 years, the company(s) cut ALL night time shifts from the schedule…indefinitely! This is truly unprecedented, and it’s adding to growing chaos and everyone’s nervousness. Up and down the coast, workers have been increasing in slowing down the unloading of cargo. This has recently transpired in companies cutting shifts as a form of punishment, and now there are even talks of Federal intervention. Several articles and opeds in the SF Chron and other publications, have come out over the past several days talking about all of this.

All the while the ships at sea are backing up, waiting to be unloaded. Meanwhile the situation of workers slowing down in protest, has caused companies to retaliate by cutting hours, thus further delaying the unloading of cargo, cutting even more into their profits- ultimately punishing themselves! Of those most adversely impacted are the truckers who have had double and triple delay times, which were already intolerable to begin with.

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The main issue seems to be that there is still no contract, and there is no end in sight as to if or when their will be any progress made. Making matters worse is that workers have absolutely no idea or details whatsoever, about anything such as what the issues are or what is being negotiated, creating growing distrust of management.

This complicated show down is causing tension, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved. Of course everyone’s concerns are for different reasons, depending on their interests. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems no one is in charge and that this chaos is due to no clear strategy by union management, employers or government officials to come up with real and lasting solutions.

As community activists, we should consider reaching out to workers and support the rank and files efforts to slow down and take a stand; as it seems possible the time is coming for a legendary ILWU fightback.
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Solidarity vs. Liberalism


Norman Finkelstien is called an ‘American Radical’, but I believe a far more appropriate term for him, and those who share his views is ‘American Liberal’. No doubt Finkelstein has gone to great lengths to research, document and disseminate the ongoing atrocities and war crimes committed by Israel, and is a highly effective and powerful advocate for Palestine. His thorough, meticulous approach is unparalleled (except by Noam Chomsky who also takes almost identical positions) and he has done so at great personal cost to his professional career as his advocacy caused him to lose tenure at DePaul University.

With great power, comes great responsibility

What is severely missing is a strong, principled stand. It is with this in mind and international solidarity with the Palestinian people day, in which I make the following remarks. It is my hope that the thousands of activists who idealize his work, and eagerly invite him him to speak will begin to challenge him on his many problematic contradictions.

In theory Finkelstein is said to believe in the one-state solution as an ideal. However he has always been an outspoken advocate for the two state solution, while not taking a strong, prinicipled stand on the right of Palestinians to return to their homelands, and is against boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). He takes these positions, which incidentally are the most commonly held liberal Zionist positions, but are most importantly, in direct opposition to Palestinian solidarity calls: http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro.

He has made these suggestions for many years now and believes, like so many liberals, that we take a more “practical” or “realistic” approach and adjust our language to fit international consensus. He also asserts that we should place our hope in international bodies such as the UN and the ICJ, despite their historic inability and/or political unwillingness to uphold their own laws, as they relate to Palestine. Not withstanding the irony, that under international law and in UN resolutions clearly state the right of return of all refugees displaced by war.

In this time the realm of people power having clearly seen we can not depend on governmental or int’l bodies to correct injustice as the people of the world are rising up and taking matters into our own hands, it is difficult for anyone to predict what is ‘possible’ or not. He also goes on to illustrate how it is the US and Israel who hold all the power in these organizations, yet provides no such recommendations as to how if or why they would change their position.

Among another one of his other bizarre and shocking suggestions is that, rather than educate international community about the racist ideology of Zionism, he says we’re going to turn people off if we talk about it!  Would the civil rights, women’s rights or any other movement in the USA have succeeded if they backed down because they didn’t have popular support?? He also uses the logic that India has a prevailing caste system and gives the example of  so many of the other countries such as China and Saudi Arabia which are unjust. Neither of which is a recipient, much less the largest recipient of US tax dollars – without which (plus US arms) they would never have had so much power.

Just as we don’t want a state based on religious purity, we also don’t want to be ideological  purists. We have gone too long and come too far, to compromise on our most basic rights now and there are certain things that are compromiseable, and others which simply, are not. I understand wanting to be practical to achieve political gains. However, Palestinians have already been down that road and in the process, given up so much and have received less and less in the process. We should learn these very important lessons from history, and is why we must only support advocates that are based in solidarity, rather than compromising and paternalistic; no matter how well intentioned.

During this most historic time in the the world, the Palestinian cause must join the movements all over the world rising for justice, who are truly creating and redefining what is possible. It s incumbent for any advocate of Palestinian rights to continue to work to bring these solidarity struggle together, in strategic ways. Movements such as the international solidarity movement (ISM-www.palsolidarity.org), the Flotillas (http://www.freegaza.org/) and the Global March to Jerusalem (http://www.globalmarchtojerusalem.org/gmtj/?page_id=34) are perfect examples of those who to take such principled positions and actions and act as true allies to the Palestinian people.

Salam, justice and solidarity.

*The definition of Zionism is the belief in the right of a Jewish state to exist, which itself is an inherent contradiction. It is impossible to reconcile democracy, equality and justice with separate laws for non-Jews. The definition of apartheid is ‘separate’ laws for non-Jews.

Norman Finkelstein: American Radical – http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2011/04/2011412103819678591.htmlI