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MEDIA ALERT: Syracuse Citizens to Rally to End Pay-to-Play, Urge Obama to Require Government Contractors to Disclose Political Spending

In Capitalism, Corporations, Media Alert on April 2, 2015 at 8:51 am

Video of Today’s Rally Event Now Available At: http://bambuser.com/v/5398111

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Event Is One of Nearly 50 to Be Held Throughout the Country Calling for an Executive Order to Shine the Light on Corporate Corruption

WHAT:
A rally calling on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order requiring contractors that do business with the government to disclose their political spending. The Syracuse event will include speakers, creative signs, and a musical performance. Attendees will be able to rubber stamp their money with “Not to be Used for Bribing Politicians.”

Under the current system, corporations that bid for government contracts do not have to disclose their campaign spending. This has led to a corrupt pay-to-play system where government contracts can secretly funnel untold sums to help elect the very same lawmakers who are responsible for awarding government contracts. However, the solution does not require an act of Congress. Obama has the authority to fix the problem with the stroke of a pen. By signing an executive order, contractors would have to disclose their political spending and citizens would be able to see which elected officials are getting the greatest contributions from contractors. An executive order would shine the light on corporate corruption and set an example for other agencies struggling to curb money in politics.

Activists in Central New York are not alone – this is a nationwide movement. Rallies and other events are scheduled to be held in nearly 50 cities and towns, in 25 states, throughout the country. In Washington, D.C., activists will hold a press conference in front of the White House and deliver hundreds of thousands of petitions calling for an executive order. April 2 marks the year anniversary of the McCutcheon Supreme Court ruling that further flooded the election system with unprecedented sums of money from corporations and the super wealthy.

WHEN:
5:00 – 6:00pm, Thursday, April 2.

WHERE:
State Office Building, 333 E. Washington St., Syracuse (next to City Hall)

WHO:
Jonah Minkoff-Zern, national co-director of Public Citizen’s “Democracy is For People” campaign; Michael Messina-Yauchzy, co-chair of Move To Amend of Syracuse and Central New York; others. The DREAM Freedom Revival will perform.

VISUALS:
Creative signs and displays will abound.

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Rally Against TPP w/ Goodkids Live at The Westcott Theater

In Corporations, Free Trade, Video Documentation on March 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

http://bambuser.com/v/5329033

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Note:  Howie Hawkins, 2014 Green Party of New York State Candidiate for Governor, speaks at 7:50 mark.

Thursday, March 5 @ The Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY
RALLY AGAINST FAST TRACK FOR
THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP
Music provided by Goodkids

Organized by Communications Workers of America (CWA) Locals 1152 and 1123, the Syracuse Peace Council, Sierra Club, Move to Amend, Green Party of Onondaga County.
For more information on the TPP check out www.stopfasttrack.com

Green Party: Katko Wrong on Keystone, Urge Climate Action and Divestment from Fossil Fuels 

In Climate, Corporations, Energy, Government, Katko, Media Advisory on February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

SYRACUSE, NY – The Green Party of New York expressed disappointment with Rep. John Katko’s vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Rep. Katko vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline shows that he is blind to the climate crisis. It’s disgraceful that our representative in Congress would support further development of infrastructure to exploit the Canadian Tar Sands, the most intensive and dirty extractive projects on the planet.  This pipeline will further lock the world into massive carbon emissions, with inevitable spills like the one we saw last month which dumped thousand 30,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Yellowstone River,” said Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga Secretary and a former Green candidate for Congress.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is the opposite of progress. Climate scientists tell us that to avoid catastrophic climate change, we have to ensure that 80% of the existing fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground.  We must to halt all new investments in fossil fuels infrastructure, and commit to a swift transition to renewable energy, ASAP. We should commit to 100% clean energy by 2030,” added Rozum.

The Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the GulfCoast. Oil from tar sands, or bitumen, is the dirtiest kind of crude of oil. Refining tar sands oil requires four times the energy and produces 5 to 20 percent more greenhouse gases compared to light crude oil. Northern Alberta is home to indigenous populations whose cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of the tar-sands operations.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross farms, parks, wetlands, forests, conservation lands, protected wildlife areas, as well as tribal lands. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) has called the U.S. House’s authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline an act of war (http://boldnebraska.org/rosebud-sioux-tribe-house-vote-in-favor-of-keystone-xl-pipeline-an-act-of-war/). It has the potential to contaminate over 1,000 water­ways in­cluding the Ogalala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the midwest and is used for irrigation of vast acres of farmland.

Recent spills are irrefutable proof that pipeline safety cannot be guaranteed. Recent examples include the July 2011 and January 2015 pipeline ruptures that dumped tens of thousands of gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Yellowstone River and the March 2013 ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. The derailment of tank cars carrying crude oil in July 2013 caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec.

The Green Parties of Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have banded together against a proposed fossil-fuel pipeline through the region, calling themselves the Green Alliance to Stop the Pipelines, or GASP (https://www.facebook.com/StopThePipelines).

GASP opposes a plan by the six New England governors to spend $6 billion on the Kinder Morgan gas transmission pipeline, which would bring fracked natural gas to export terminals in Maine and Canada.

The Green Party is part of the February 13th Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Day which in New York State is pressuring Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s pension fund from fossil fuel investments.

Contact Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga, Secretary, (315) 414-7720, ursula.rozum@gmail.com

TPP Fast Track Daily Actions Calendar: #CNYvsTPP

In Corporations, Direct Action, Government, International on February 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

Indy Media CNY stands on the side of stopping the Fast Tracking of the TPP international free trade agreement in it’s tracks (Public Citizen has a great collection of information and data that explains the concerns about the TPP). As a service, we are compiling a list of daily actions that you can take to participate in this campaign.  Actions include educational opportunities such as curated videos and articles, social media storms, TPP Tuesday call-ins, taking pledges, writing letters, flyering, and more.  Each day we will select an action of merit and importance and share on our public calendar.  Just click on the action to learn all about it and how to participate.  The Fast Track vote is expected sometime in the next 1-2 months, so the time is now to learn, and communicate with each other and your elected officials.

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“In These Times: Creating a Beloved Community as a Radical Act” — Teach In to Act Out — 29 January 2015 — Margo Okazawa-Rey, Elihu Root Peace Fund Chair in Women’s Studies, Hamilton College

In Community, Corporations, Education on February 1, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Editor’s Note:  Indy Media CNY attended the Teach In to Act Out (a 2-day conference on the history of student movements, intersectional organizing, university corporatization, resistance skill-building, and art & activism) organized by The General Body, an activist group coalition of students, faculty, and staff at Syracuse University.  We have obtained the full text of the Keynote presentation from Margo Okazawa-Rey and present it here for our readers.

“Greetings! Much appreciation goes to everyone who made “Teach In to Act Out” possible, especially Mary Rose who held my hand to get me here.

And thanks to all the comrades in the struggle who are here; I am honored to be among you!

I want to remember and honor two who left us recently. One most of you know or have heard of Leslie Feinberg, the transgender warrior who made us understand, among other things, the inextricable links between gender classifications and identities and global capitalist processes and the deeply loved spouse of our sister friend Minnie Bruce Pratt.

The other feminist most of you will not know or even have heard of Maha Abu-Dayyeh, the Palestinian activist and director of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling, one of the most influential leaders of the modern Palestinian women’s movement, and one of my dearest friends and teachers. It was through her and our work together at WCLAC that I developed many of the ideas I will be sharing with you today.

As I was thinking about what to say today, Dickens’s lines from The Tale of Two Cities came to

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times;

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness;

it was the epoch of belief, it was the winter of despair;

We have ample evidence of all these polarities:

The 1% of the world owns nearly half the world’s wealth AND the 80% of the world’s peoples are living on less than $10 a day

There are advances in medicine and technology; there’s creativity and beauty in the arts and music and performance AND wars, massacres, and horrific violence of all forms as we have been witnessing.

We also see possibilities, as many people, from various walks of life, organize for justice, equity, and a truly secure and sustainable world. This weekend’s gathering is a very good example of that. As are the nationwide organizing around policy brutality; worldwide organizing against violence again women; BDS movement to help end Israeli occupation of Palestine; the years long fight against installation of new US military bases in Okinawa and Korea; the struggle for rights of domestic workers in New York and LA, to name a few.

At the same time, the future looks unrelentingly bleak.

This country, the US, one of the richest and the most militarily powerful, is in deep trouble and is the source of deeper troubles worldwide. All of us in this room know the signs.  One of the most destructive, I believe, is fear combined with hyper individualism, so embedded in this society. Many, even some of the most conscious and privileged folks among us, are afraid and motivated by fear. This has led to accepting the prevailing message, for example, that aggression leads to peace and that closing borders provides security. A kind of collective and individual self-absorption has gripped this nation.

Audre Lorde said, “we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”

Cornel West says, “We’ve forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than we found it.”

But it’s not easy. Leaving the world a better place demands courage. West says, “In many instances, we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that’s the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.”

I am firmly convinced that we—those who care, those who struggle for a just peace—should give the last word to LOVE, understanding that its most generative expression is the struggle for justice. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has told us, justice is what love looks like in practice. As activists struggling for social and ecological justice, we must love as we DO: love the work, love the ideas and values that frame the work, and above all love the people we work with and humanity itself.

To do so, we must ourselves develop our own humanity because, in one way or another, we are indigenes of the neo-liberal, neo-colonial project that reproduces and adapts itself to try to ensure we will always be looking in the wrong direction—anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti this and that—rather than imagining truly radical alternative—and acting against our own interests—blame the next “Other,” among other things. But how do we grow?

In mainstream US culture, we are expected to grow by separating and individuating ourselves from others; that is how we are supposed to become mature. Along the way, we proclaim our uniqueness, difference, and exceptionality. And we are rewarded. By standing out, people may see us as leaders, as more intelligent and competent that others and so on. It’s an extension of the pervasive American exceptionalism. Many of us believe, deep inside, that we can do things better singularly than collectively, even as we gather in groups like this. When push comes to shove, we still place a lot of faith in individual charismatic leaders. In a sense, identity politics may be a collective example of this growth through separation and individuation as well.

As a kind of corrective, feminist psychologist Jean Baker Miller and her colleagues, developed a theory of human development suggesting that, in fact, growth and development happen through relational connection with and to others. They call this growth-in-connection.

Growing in this way as adults though requires different kinds of engagements in groups—whether we are talking about activist spaces, organizations, or universities. It means, using Joyce Fletcher’s term, a relational practice that centers caring, being involved in the nitty-gritties of organizing, seeking consensus, paying attention to others’ emotional needs and states, and addressing the contradiction that results from the structural inequalities (and hierarchies whether we acknowledge it or not) embedded in most kinds of group engagements. This kind of relational growth helps us to love deeper, more fully, and in Thich Nhat Han’s words, with great equanimity.

These ideas about growth answer a question that often emerges in conversations about how change happens: what has to happen first, individual change or change outside of individuals. “We have to change first before we can do the work.” This is what I have most often heard. But they are inextricably linked.

We must go even further because love and loving are not simply an individual act or stance. I want us to create Beloved Communities as we engage in the struggles. Because, as Dr. King said, “end [of struggle] is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding-goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in [our] hearts.”

We can do this. As the late poet June Jordan wrote in her poem for South African women struggling against the apartheid regime,

“We are the ones we have been waiting for!”

The following were added after the conference. One was inspired by Minnie Bruce Pratt, my teacher and friend, and other was posted on my FB homepage.

At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice….(O)ne must have a great deal of humanity and a strong sense of justice and truth in order not to fall into extreme dogmatism and cold scholasticism, into isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.

From adbusters: Today (31 January) we remember Howard Zinn, who left us 5 years ago.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

DAT Movement Solidarity Rally

In Corporations, Direct Action, Education, Video Documentation on November 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

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View this archived event at: http://bambuser.com/v/5062206

Video includes footage of the rally chants and testimonials, interviews with passers-by, the occupying students in Crouse-Hinds, and interaction with SU Public Safety.

From the event listing:

“We, THE General Body, a coalition of over 50 student groups on campus are currently sitting in at Crouse-Hinds administrative building. Tonight (Friday), we learned that if any of our members exit the building over the weekend, we may not be granted re-entry.

SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT BY RALLYING OUTSIDE CROUSE-HINDS TOMORROW (Saturday) AT 12PM! We will begin negotiating with the administration at 1pm, and need a big crowd to show them that their restrictions cannot stop the movement. Bring signs, instruments, noisemakers, and friends!
This is what democracy looks like!

http://thegeneralbody.org/
(list of demands and grievances can be found on site)

#DATMovementSU

Report Back: Alternatives to Exploitation and War

In Community, Corporations, International on October 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

Join the Central New York Cajibio Sister Community, a project of the CNY Chapter of the Colombian Support Network, as they report back on their 2014 trip to Colombia (celebrating 10 years of the sister-city relationship and the 6th delegation to visit Cajibio from CNY).

Speakers include: Jessica Maxwell, 3 time Delegate, who will introduce the community relationship history; Frank Cetera, 2014 delegate and Permaculture Activist, who will speak about the solidarity economy; Emily Bishop, 2014 delegate and Youth Climate Activist, who will speak about resource extraction and environmental impacts.

The Sister Community will also premiere a short documentary about struggles of families who have lost loved ones due to paramilitary violence in the Cauca region of Colombia, produced by 2014 Delegate and Film Maker Caroline Podraza.

Free to the Public

– See more at: http://artragegallery.org/cny-cajibio-sister-community-delegation-report#sthash.tP0ZPSKY.dpuf or social RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/795330157190338/

CNY-Cajibio Delegation Makes Seed Contribution for Future of Colombian Campesin@s

In Corporations, Government, International, Media Advisory, Peace on July 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm

CAJIBIO, CAUCA, COLOMBIA – The 10th anniversary CNY-Cajibio sister-city delegation participated in a symbolic presentation of seeds at the Feria Campesina (Small Farmer’s Fair) in Cajibio on July 4, 2014. A card signed by all twelve delegates which read “The Future Is In The Seed”, accompanied the contribution. Open pollinated varieties of tomato, pepper, summer squash, and melons saved by Frosty Morning Farm in Truxton, and two heritage bean varieties of the Onondaga people were given to Marylén Serna Salinas of the Movimiento Campesinos de Cajibio (MCC) By delegate Colleen Kattau.

Kattau, said that “the seed donation symbolizes the right to save, share, and distribute seed autonomously which should be everyone’s right”.

This Feria is the second held by the MCC in support of the Campesin@’s campaign to be recognized as a distinct population with rights and responsibilities by the Colombian state government. The exchange of seeds, knowledge, flavors, and products that took place at the Feria was also a demonstration of the Campesin@’s quest for food and economic sovereignty.

Delegates also displayed and provided tastings of Finger Lakes agricultural and artistic products such as honey, maple syrup, cards designed by local artists, soap, beeswax candles and more (all donated by artists and small farmers from Central New York). Emily Bishop and Anthony Zaun-Lokos also made a statement representing the youth contingent of this delegation as to how the seed contribution represents the next generation of the sister-city relationship and the building of relationships with people abroad who share common goals and challenges.

Patricia Rodriguez, Associate Professor at Ithaca College, stated that “providing international solidarity and support for the MCC is now more important than ever as peace talks in Colombia continue after the re-election of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Campesin@’s fight for recognition, and representation at the negotiations.”

The delegates plan to organize community events in their respective communities in Central New York upon their return to share about the organizational processes and the united efforts that the MCC and other groups have engaged in at the local, regional, and national levels, to bring about social change.

Contact: Patricia Rodriguez at prodriguez@ithaca.edu or Frank Cetera at franklen9807@gmail.com.

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The Urban Jobs Task Force Will Present and Distribute its Inner Harbor Community Benefits Agreements to COR, SIDA and the Media

In Corporations, Government, Media Advisory, Worker's Rights on June 13, 2014 at 11:48 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

When:   8:30 am Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where:  Common Council Chambers, City Hall

What:    SIDA public hearing on COR’s Inner Harbor project

8:30 am Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in the Common Council Chambers, City Hall during the public hearing on the Inner Harbor project, the Urban Jobs Task Force (UJTF) will present and distribute its Inner Harbor Community Benefits Agreement to COR, SIDA and the media.  Following that presentation, UJTF members and the community will speak to the urgent need to establish monitored requirements for city-sponsored development.  These requirements must target city residents in need of employment and city small businesses in need of subcontracts.

Throughout the country, communities and some municipalities are working to make sure everyone benefits when public dollars are spent on a project.  Since the late nineties, CBA’s have been effective strategies for providing jobs, fair wages, contracts, housing, green space, grocery stores, community centers or whatever the community feels will foster a better quality of life in their neighborhoods affected by the project.  Two successful examples are the 1999 Hollywood and Highland CBA and 2008 Pittsburg Penguin Arena CBA.

This approach is powerful because the community speaks for itself and negotiates these legal agreements with the developer, be it a private company or a municipality.  To be effective CBAs must include compliance monitoring and enforcement.  Over the last four semesters, the Urban Jobs Task Force has worked with the Syracuse University’s Community Development Law Clinic to develop a CBA for the Inner Harbor Project.  Since this would be the first CBA in Syracuse we want it to serve as a model for how a project getting tax benefits can be more inclusive of the affected community.

Last October, COR told the UJTF it wasn’t interested in negotiating an Inner Harbor CBA because it was partnering with SUNYEOC to hire locally.  The UJTF believes SUNYEOC is a good partner of choice but if there is no targeted hiring requirement for COR to meet, such as the one in our CBA that calls for Inner Harbor contractors to hire 15 – 25% low-income city residents, history suggests that very few inner-city residents are likely to get opportunities through this development project.  At this point, the UJTF wants at least to have a conversation with COR about the community’s needs and ways in which the UJTF can partner with SUNYEOC and COR to facilitate local hiring. UJTF is a coalition of 40 community organizations and faith based groups that can add value to SUNYEOC & COR’s efforts to hire locally even if a full CBA is not enacted.  But COR has refused to even meet with us. This is why the UJTF is using this hearing to publicize its Inner Harbor CBA and the need for accountable development.  If we are ever going to tackle poverty in our city, we need to change the status quo.

The Urban Jobs Task Force (UJTF) is a coalition of 40 organizations whose mission is to advocate  “for job development, training and placement for Syracuse’s unemployed- and under-employed” and  to  “ encourage the creation of conditions and resources for local businesses under-represented regarding municipal contracts.”

Contact:  Aggie Lane, 478-4571

David Cobb, “Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule” with opening skits and music by The D.R.E.A.M. Freedom Revival

In Constitution, Corporations, Government, Video Documentation on June 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Watch David Cobb and the Dream Freedom Revival in Syracuse NY during the “Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule” tour on June 2, 2014.  Part history lesson and part heart-felt-call to action, David tells the story of the American creation myth and the Supreme Court rulings that created illegitimate but legal “corporate constitutional rights.”  Understand the move to abolish corporate personhood as you’ve never done before.

http://bambuser.com/v/4674142

Cobb MTA Syracuse