[Imc-atlanta-audio] the road to boston
eirene at telerama.com
eirene at telerama.com
Fri Jul 23 08:26:56 PDT 2004
Won't you please come to boston, or else join the otherside... ;-o
The Road to Boston: Communiqué from my sister.-Day One
Tonight my sister will leave San Francisco and head for Boston. She will
travel with friends to stand and be heard at the National Democratic
Convention and the Boston Social Form. Thousands are heading to Boston. It
is the right thing to do. My sister will send me communique's here to
Portland ... to keep me informed. Friends will send pics and video
footage. I will post them here for the next few days. If you can go. You
My sister is just a few years younger than I am. Tonight she will leave
San Francisco and head for Boston. She is traveling with other women who
will be standing together at the National Democratic Convention and the
Boston Social Forum that will take place this weekend. I wanted to go with
her. I cannot afford to go. So she has agreed to send me daily updates
from Boston and I will share them here on Portland Indymedia.
The women she is traveling with are radical videographers. They are going
to Boston for different but similar reasons. They want to witness, and
they want to put pressure on the Dems to change their ways. They want the
Democrats, including Kerry to start representing the people of this
country and stop threatening the people of other countries. And, there are
other reasons to go. But, I will let them tell you that.
I will be posting updates from their adventures as the days go by. Stay tuned.
First, I want to tell you about my sister and me. And then I want to let
my sister tell you about herself and why she is going to Boston.
My sister has been to me what women and sisters should be to each other.
We have lived and struggled at times together and at times alone with our
children. We grew up on a small farm in Oregon. I am a grandchild of Irish
Immigrants who came to Oregon to get away from poverty and the war against
the people of Ireland. My sister and I grew up a part of a family of 13
children. Our mother died young. I was 13 when she died. She was Irish
Catholic. While our dad tried to raise us alone, we were most of the time
kids raising kids. Sometimes bad things happened to us and we learned to
compete against each other instead of cooperate to help each other. There
were those moments when we moved as one joyful unit: taking on the
neighborhood in baseball and four square, or trying to build a Tom Sawyer
type raft to sail down the local river (it sunk to the bottom the minute
it touched the water).
My brothers and sisters and I grew up being somewhat detached from one
another. Living in Oregon through the 70's, 80's and 90's was just too
hard. Most of us earned a home, lost it, earned a piece of land again,
lost it... and then in the late 90's slid clear off the scale of ever
being able to own anything again.
My relationship with my sister Edain was quite different. We were
sometimes quite close. We worked in the same factory together, for a time.
We went through mass layoffs at the same time. We both went to school
about the same time. We both were single mothers for years and years. We
both raised two children. For most of the last 20 years we lived about 50
miles apart. Five years ago she moved to San Francisco and her life
changed for the better. She inspired me to stop living in pretty little
heartless towns in Oregon and look for a life worth living, rather than
struggling against insatiable injustice and poverty.
We are bonded in a firm realization that we must speak truth to power, we
must get up off our knees and stop scrubbing the floors of capitalism and
take back our country, and we need to do it together. We both believe that
the downfall of the present anti-war, anti-capitalist movement is that too
many people think we are different, apart, not the same, and we have
become critical of each other's degree of "radicalism". We need to put our
energy together to stop the present spiral downward. We need to stop
attacking each other. These are the darkest hours before the dawn. We both
know we must fight. We have always known that when these days came we
would stand and fight. We knew these days would come because the system
was not sustainable. Some believed that injustice could exist for some and
not for others. Some do not know "what comes around, goes around".
I have heard those amongst us say that we need to "let it all fall down".
All of it must go away. "SMASH THE STATE"; "TEAR IT ALL DOWN". Edain and I
do not support this destructive type of thinking. We know what is the
bottom. We have lived at the bottom.
Homelessness, violence, people preying upon each other, dreams smashed,
children lost, hopelessness. Watching your children cry with hunger pains.
Going without food yourself for days so your children will have something.
Dealing with bosses who take great joy in battering you downward each day.
Working in unsafe environments for minimum wage. Struggling to have an
education. And, while we were at work, or at school, we worried about the
drug dealers and other predators who wanted to take our children from us.
We dreamed and struggled together. We tried to help each other. Sometimes
we could and other times we had too much on our plates. We both at times
had to work 2 or 3 jobs, at the same time, just to be able to afford to
have a safe place to live.
And now, we both have been radicalized by the long, hard struggle. We know
what we want, and we know what we don't want. We are not afraid to stand
up for it. We are not afraid to speak. There is nothing left to lose.
Maybe this is what freedom looks like.
Communiqu? one: Email from San Francisco. Thursday, July 22, 2004. They
are leaving tonight for Boston.
Who I am and why I am going to Boston.
Who am I? I am 51 years old. I raised two sons, and one is still living.
He is 27 and lives in Oregon. His brother was 27 when he died six years
ago. I was raised in small university town in Western Oregon. Both of my
parents were well educated. Even though, we were not wealthy (my father
spent much of his childhood in an orphanage because his mother was ill and
my mother was the oldest of 11 children). My mother died when I was ten
and my father raised me and my 11 brothers and sisters by himself.
I have also lived in other parts of Oregon, Western Washington and, for
the last 5-? years in San Francisco. Until 1985 I raised my sons on an
average of $4,500 per year, sometimes far less. By 1995 I averaged $8,900
per year. We usually had no health care, lived in the cheapest places we
could find, including two barns, and often moved for the opportunity of
higher wages. A healthy diet usually was unaffordable. I have an Associate
of Science degree and was working on degrees in engineering and physics
until the University of Oregon illegally demolished housing for low-income
families to replace it with housing for out-of-state students. I was
arrested for protesting the loss of opportunity for Oregon citizens in the
state owned university.
I now earn several times more than I did before 1995, and donate my time
and money in low-income neighborhoods and to save America's democracy. My
largest donation, of time & money, was to the Dennis Kucinich for
President Campaign. I have also supported several agencies that our
trying to save our country including MoveOn.org, KPFA Pacifica radio, San
Francisco Peacemakers, San Francisco's Operation Save A Life,
TrueMajority.org. wecount.org, daily.misleader.org, BushRecall.org,
democracynow.org and other groups working for our future.
Why am I going to Boston? That is a very complex question, and an easy
one. I am going because I think every one who can, should go. I wish I
could go to New York to protest the Republican Convention but I won't be
able to make it. Thank you to all who stand in my place and speak for me!
When President Bush declared war on Iraq I did not believe that war was
necessary. I marched in the streets in San Francisco, along with members
of the Dennis Kucinich for President Campaign, International A.N.S.W.E.R.,
Not in Our Name, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Women in Black, United for
Peace, Global Exchange, Refuse and Resist, and many other groups and
individuals. Hundreds of thousands marched against the war in San
Francisco and millions across the world and in hundreds of countries. We
believe that war is not the answer. Violence begets violence. The wealthy
profit and the poor die. Since that day I have marched in every protest
against the war and Bush's policies. The people who march beside me are
my only hope, and I hope that my presence strengthens them.
When the war was about to begin, and after it began, I searched for news
that represented the millions who were against this war. I read the
newspapers, watched the news on TV, and listened to the radio for news on
why we were going to war. I believed that war was not our only option. I
believed that, if we were the great country we claimed to be, we would be
powerful enough to solve our problems without unnecessary deaths.
None of the media, including NPR, who I used to support financially but no
longer will, were supporting the voices of the people in the streets.
Finally one morning, when I couldn't stand the propaganda any longer, I
changed the station from NPR's KQED and found Pacifica radio station
"KPFA" in Berkeley. I have also found, on line, Air America Radio, and
have watched the coverage from Ted Koppel's coverage on "Nightline". I
have purchased books by Al Franken, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Moore, Jim
Hightower, Michael Nagler, Amy & David Goodman, Gore Vidal, Norman
Solomon, MoveOn.org and The League of Pissed Off Voters. I haven't
finished reading them all but will and was happy to support their
research, bravery, honesty and their fight for justice for the entire
What I have learned, as I already suspected, is that September 11th did
not happen in a vacuum. Even Iraq is not happening in a vacuum. We have
supported, and financed, the wars and destruction of many countries in the
past. While we are currently destroying Iraq we are also destroying Haiti,
Pakistan, and supporting the destruction of Palestine and Israel. Bush,
and his administration, has threatened almost every country and every US
citizen. He has declared almost every brown skinned person an "evil"
terrorist and every country that does not support his fascist regime the
Our original objections to the war are nothing compared to our objections
now. I originally felt that war was not the only answer, the best answer,
an intelligent direction to follow or a decision that would benefit anyone
involved. Now I know Iraq was not responsible for September 11th. Iraq was
not capable of attacking the United States and was not a threat to the
United States. None of Iraq's neighbors have supported this war or felt
that Iraq was enough of a threat to declare war against. Iraq's museums,
and history, were immediately looted and destroyed. Thousands of Iraqi
families have been terrorized by US soldiers, and the insurgents who can
now easily enter Iraq, who have invaded homes; frightened, insulted and
humiliated their men, women and children; imprisoned their people without
any judicial process, destroyed their resources with bombs and depleted
uranium; and killed innocent people for reasons as simple as crossing the
street to get water or go to school. US Corporations are profiting, with
no bid contracts, claiming to provide the infrastructure of Iraq after we
destroyed it with our bombs. The long-term effect of depleted uranium,
Napalm, injuries and deaths on Iraqis and US soldiers have rarely been
discussed. Now we are hearing, besides earlier reports of prison abuse,
that young men are being sodomized in front of their mothers and female
military personal have been raped and are not provided birth control.
Our men and women entered military service with a promise to protect our
country, even at the cost of their own lives. In return we promised to
never ask them to enter into harms way unnecessarily. They are being
forced to take part in a war that they question, their military service is
being extended with last minute notice, there is no extra pay for serving
in a war zone, pay checks are late, health care is limited and takes
months to receive and many of their families are on welfare and food
stamps and have no health care for their children.
While our thoughts are focused on the war in Iraq and the tremendous
problems of war, our current administration is also stripping our own
resources. Bills have been passed, and actions have already begun, to
raise the acceptable level of pollutants released in our air, "Clear
Skies", new roads are being built in the Northwest and Alaska to clear-cut
our formally protected forests, "Healthy Forests", "Medicare Reform" has
increased the costs of healthcare for our elderly, and "No Child Left
Behind" has required that any school receiving federal funds must allow
military recruiters to solicit our children to join the military. The Bush
administration has done all it can to discriminate against US citizens
based on religion and race, trying to pass an amendment claiming that only
the loving relationships between men and women will be recognized and
imprisoning thousands without trial because they are brown skinned. Now
our administration wants a government agency to examine our children and
determine if they should be force-fed medications, such as Prozac, while
attending school, with no intervention from parents, family doctors or
Funds have been cut to every state, county, city and school district. Our
economy is measured by stock profits while unemployment is rampant and
unemployment insurance is limited. Thousands are homeless in our streets,
and our streets and infrastructures are falling into deeper disrepair.
Police and fire services have been cut. Politicians have been censored in
the Congress (Corrine Brown, Florida), and I have watched threats of
censorship in the Senate, on CSPAN, for speaking against the President and
his illegal and immoral actions. Our Vice-President has been indicted in
several countries for his actions before and during his vice-presidency.
And, daily, the citizens of our country are sent messages of "Consume,
Obey, Conform, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid". We will be lucky if we have an
election at all. We are living in the reality of the 1949 book by George
Orwell, "1984" and John Carpenter's 1988 movie "They Live". We need
special glasses to see through the propaganda and see who the real enemy
is, and who the real terrorists are, if only there were such a thing!
That being said, why am I going to Boston?
I have not endorsed John Kerry. After seeing the possibilities that Dennis
Kucinich was offering I see John Kerry as a far second choice, so one
reason I am going is answer the question of whether I should support John
Kerry, but I have serious questions.
John Conyer's and Dennis Kucinich' Department of Peace makes sense to me.
Non- violent resolution to injustice is, to me, the only constructive way
for humanity to continue to exist.
Health care for all, at a cost less than what is currently being invested
by employers, as proposed by Dennis Kucinich, is far better than health
insurance available for all, as proposed by John Kerry. If you cannot
afford even the co- pay, and if you are not employed, you will not have
health care (often the reason for unemployment).
As long as NAFTA and the WTO exist countries will not be able to protect
their environments because they can be, and have been, sued by
corporations who are made to limit pollutants and lose profits. NAFTA and
the WTO cannot be changed, as John Kerry proposes, because of the way they
were written. The only option is to withdraw and compose new agreements.
Since John Kerry, and his wife, have outsourced much of the Heinz company
to foreign countries will they be willing to serve our countries needs?
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask
a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" John Kerry 1971. John
Kerry was very brave to speak out about his experiences in 1971 but now
John Kerry wants to send more troops to Iraq and has said he believes in
preemptive war. Hasn't he heard that the Iraqis are innocent victims of
this war? Does he believe, as Bush does, that US corporations should
profit from the spoils of war? I hope not.
Anyway, I hope that I find the answers that I am looking for.
See you in Boston.
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