Bush's trip raised only $500,000. It probably cost the taxpayers at least that much, if not more, in security for him, between the number of local police and overtime; federal security; helicopters, air force one, pilots, delays at the airport, the horrible mess caused by shutting down the interstate between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Add up the lost time for all of the taxpayers sitting in traffic and not being able to be productive anywhere else (the doctors were waiting for the patients at the doctor's office when I got there, and the waiting room was empty---cool, right?), and who knows how much his little fundraising party actually cost. It would have been cheaper to just write John Kennedy a check from the federal coffers for $500,000, and save us all the time and aggravation of being stuck in traffic for an extra hour just so the almighty could come to a fundraiser.
report back from "The Peoples Summit" after the second sunburnt day of the gulf coast's people's summit, we here in new orleans are acting like we have months left before bush comes to town, when in fact he is here enjoying the city, comforted by air conditioning and motorcades. we are already witnessing the effects of his Security & Prosperity Partnership: with the mississippi river bridge's on and off ramps blocked, I-10 was made into an express highway, directing flows of traffic and people, conveniently out of his way, inconveniencing everyone else from having access to the city.
The canal street ferry, shuttling internally displaced traffic across the mississippi river, was circled through the day by coast guard boats fully armed and ready to fire mounted machine guns, in full show of force and what bush intends to mean by 'security,' we on the docks agreed was menacing and intimidating. the imminent, historic, and nation-altering meeting about to take place between the leaders of the "free world'' is being met with little, hardly any, noticeable resistance. Due at least in part to the crippled condition of new orleans, where 3 years after the hurricanes people continue to face daily struggles to survive, with no surplus resources, time, or active community members to lend to what would likely be, in any other city in the hemisphere, an equally historic People's protest to the executive meeting.
Civilian resistance and protest to massive free trade agreements seems to be planned for more by bush than by the american public or the "progressive left", and so new orleans is the perfect backdrop for the announcement of the spp: sweeping decisions adversely affecting millions of people are met with a strangled cry, gone unheard by the rest of the nation.
"Understanding who profits and how: NAFTA + and Katrina Profiteering" was a misnomer, a vague power-analysis turned roundcircle discussion, facilitated by the people's institute for survival and beyond. The session was attended by community organizers, international public service workers union representative, mexican trade unions, activists from chiapas, american and canadian youth, citizen journalists and media activists, farmer union representative, social workers, non-profit organizations, and new orleanians, served more as the critical race theory workshop that the Peoples Institute is known for, and not as any attempt for a coordinated approach or discussion on how to challenge bush, calderon and harper at this critical moment.
ironically, at this international summit, facilitators asked that we divide ourselves into national groups to notice similarities between new orleans and wherever we were visiting from, something that would have been manifold more useful to hear from each other, as it was a rare opportunity to hear voices from across the heavily guarded borders. discussion was derailed and became about how we are gate keepers, moving further and further away from any plan of action. the 6 hours were used as an introduction to social inequality, as if people signed up to take a class on the internalization of inferiority/superiority. in fact people came to act together in the face of big brother government.
for all of our talk on giving voices to disenfranchised people around the world, taking queues from these communities, learning from eachother, creating access to decision-making, none of the mexicans who traveled the long distance were asked what they thought should happen at this summit. there was no mention of their very successful strategies for organizing resistance to destructive neo-colonial economic policies. nobody asked "what can we do now that all of our presidents are in town?" instead was the same old, painfully ineffective naval-gazing
speaking with a gentleman from mexico after the looooong winded sessions were over, he asked what the break-out group of americans discussed, and i said they were just talking and not saying much, like americans do. and he laughed, agreeing said i should have been sitting with the mexican delegation because they were discussing that very point.
Going well beyond the Port of New Orleans, Security and Prosperity Partnership plans for "North American Integration" endanger port, trucking, and railroad jobs, as well as investments, incomes, and State revenues all over the country. The SPP is coming to the Big Easy, why should you care? Let's have a look...
Here's what you can expect.
Go to New Orleans and DO SOMETHING Monday, 4/21 9am – 12pm Community Tour of New Orleans & Story Circles in Congo Square 12 – 1:30pm Opening Ceremony & Lunch in Congo Square 2pm – 5pm Understanding Who Profits & How: NAFTA+ and Katrina Profiteering 6pm – 9pm Understanding Who Profits & How: NAFTA+ and Katrina Profiteering
More than 450 mountains have been destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Today, 125 volunteers from more than 20 states are in our nation's capital as part of iLoveMountain's 3rd Annual Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington. They're going from office to office on Capitol Hill, telling members of Congress that now is the time to take action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.
House Representative Marci Kaptur on Cintra's involvement with the North American Union that will give this Spanish corporation control over a massive swatch of US land. They will divide our country, literally, in 2.
Hudson Mohawk Indymedia has produced a definitive account of the whirlwind of events surrounding Wafaa Bilal's controversial art exhibit, "Virtual Jihadi." "Art â Terrorism" goes beyond the sound bites to find out what happened when an Iraqi artist came to Troy, NY only to be censored--not once, but twice.
First, Wafaa Bilal was chased off campus after his artwork was mis-characterized as terrorist propaganda by undergraduate bloggers. When the exhibition was given refuge by The Sanctuary for Independent Media, the city government responded by shutting down the space.
When something is bad for us often people from the right AND left can agree that it is bad for us even though we will have different reasons for thinking so. This video is from The Conservative Caucus and explains why right wingers are against the North American Union. BTW the state run web site Snopes.com claims the North American Union is an URBAN LEGEND; maybe someone should tell the leaders of these 3 countries that they don't need to meet to discus it then.
You can express YOUR disagreement with the North American Union on April 21st & 22nd in New Orleans when the "3 Amigos" (Bush, Calderon & Harper) meet to discuss their plans to make our 3 countries ONE country.