The antiwar movement returns to the Port of Oakland this evening to picket war profiteer American President Lines (APL) and corporate colonist Stevedoring Services of America (SSA), with an additional message for OPD and Mayor Brown: "No police violence at the docks or in our communities!" Last month's picket was the scene of a "less-lethal" police onslaught as riot cops opened fire with wooden bullets and concussion grenades, injuring dozens of protesters and portworkers -- none of whom have been charged with any crime. At a meeting with organizers on Friday, OPD backed off on their threat to force picketers into a protest pen a mile away from the companies, but made few guarantees for the rights or safety of protesters. Enemy Combatant Radio will provide live coverage from 5pm, when protesters are to gather at West Oakland BART, until late (call-in 415-864-1006).
As a group, poets have an extraordinary and just tradition of civil disobedience; the much-invoked-of-late Ginsberg was no stranger to the prison-house of prison. On April 7th, non-violent CD will be one one of many options for actively resisting an unjust and illegal war on Iraq, and the accelerating corrosion of your freedoms at home. For that Monday, a coalition including United for Peace and Justice, Direct Action to Stop the War, and Iraqi Pledge of Resistance has called for a National Day of Direct Action. See the call at ActAgainstWar; see New York-specific information at m27coalition. Join or form an affinity group; decide what you would like to do. We and our communities are the fundamental units of decision and action. Active engagement against this outrage will ease anxieties about the political nature and efficacy of poems. It will also clearly indicate that you do not support your government's actions; will not tolerate them; and will not settle for what freedoms are assigned to you according to the day's color-coding. Fight for freedom; art for art!
[I'm not sure about this one myself - I mean the organization is legit, certainly, just the concept seems troublesome. Well, it's too late for me, I filed a week ago. -- bks]
It's almost time again for those it's-almost-time-again news stories about the tax deadline, some old-fashioned good-natured, compassionating grumbling about the pain of civic duty, all of which will be reducible to that old-fashioned good-natured command: PAY TRIBUTE (AND ON TIME PLEASE). But in part or in whole you don't have to, and, especially right now, you might consider coyly withholding some or all of your alienating dollars to be your pressing civic duty. Or you might just get a little extra languorous about deadlines while the military machine gets a little more nervous about time passing. If you're at all interested in blocking the intersection of you and government, go to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee at http://www.nwtrcc.org/. -- Geoffrey G. O'Brien
March 23, 2003
Tonight I attended a planning meeting for direct action in NYC at Washington Square United Methodist Church. Over 33 groups were represented and over 150 showed up (I counted everyone but lost count after 152). The group was consensus based and made no decisions without every person in the room agreeing to it. United For Peace was there, Not in our Name was there, Act Now ws there, No blood For Oil, The Green Party was there, automous more anarchist oriented groups were there, and church groups.
The consensus was that Thursday, March 27th will be "NO BUSINESS AS USUAL" and will be a day that will rival San Fransicso in the scope of civil disobedience and direct action. The main mass action will be at 8:00 am at the Rockefeller Center and will be a die in. People will lay down in symbol of the dead in Iraq. Rockefeller Ctr. was chosen because GE is there who makes much of the military equipment, and several news organiztions are there, and this is the center of many other businesses like the NY Post, Lockheed Martin, and many other corporations that stand to benefit and support this war in many ways. That general area will be targeted heavily with massive civil disobedience. But the main call is for Rockefeller Ctr. at 8am in the morning. To go there and there will be a cue to lay down. This will be an act of civil disobedience and will be an arrestable offense, a misdemeanor. Most people will be issued a citation and released. The massive numbers of people that will likely turn out will preclude the police from detaining anyone for long (exactly what has happened in San Fran.)
This action is meant to be the mass action, and there will be break off groups throughout the city doing civil disobedience in many ways (all them at this group were committed to nonviolence). They are also calling for strikes or taking the day off work to have no business as usual. The goal is to literally shut this city down and not allow people to go on with normal routines as we drop bombs on others (bombs are dropping while you're shopping...we are going to prevent the shopping).
That is basically the what came of the meeting by consensus, and it is supported by all the major organizing groups in this city. And will be advertised starting tonite on email lists and fliers. Please distribute this information to everyone you know... We only have three days to organize this massive effort...but it can and will be done.
Hope this information was helpful and I am sure it will delight you as much as it did me while we were planning it
Dave Schamuch firstname.lastname@example.org