On this week's show...
* an interview with two independent journalists who documented the 34 day war in Lebanon last summer and its aftermath.
* thousands take to the street in a march against violence in New Orleans
* Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on collective struggle, the war in Vietnam, revolutionary movements around the world, and more.
* 2 local groups claim victory in their campaigns
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
an interview with two independent journalists who documented the 34 day war in Lebanon last summer and its aftermath.
thousands take to the street in a march against violence in New Orleans
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on collective struggle, the war in Vietnam, revolutionary movements around the world, and more.
2 local groups claim victory in their campaigns
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on at a new time on WPTS - 10-11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[3:30] Transit Activism in Allegheny County
As the chilly days of winter descend upon Pittsburgh and surrounding towns, commuters rely more than ever on frequent and accessible public transportation. Port Authority of Allegheny County recently announced its intention to cut over half of its bus routes and to leave over four hundred transit workers jobless beginning June 25, 2007. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato is quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying, "This is to save the Port Authority, to remain a strong urban center...it's long overdue."
These transit cut decisions, the most severe in the history of Allegheny County, mirror similar cuts in public transit around the country, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Chicago. Like these cities, Pittsburgh also finds itself home to a growing movement of transit activists who are fighting for better public transportation.
This morning, Rustbelt Radio spoke to Amanda Zeiders of Save Our Transit.
* saveourtransit.mp3: SAVE OUR TRANSIT HISTORY [1:00]
On the effect of transit cuts:
* transitcuts.mp3: TRANSIT CUTS [0:35]
Information on the upcoming Save Our Transit Rally.
* transitgetinvolved.mp3: TRANSIT GET INVOLVED [0:45]
That was Amanda Zeiders on the upcoming rally to demand no service cuts and no fare hikes in Allegheny County. The rally begins at 8:30 AM on January 22nd, at 6th Avenue and William Penn Place, downtown.
[1:00] POG protest
This past Saturday, the Pittsburgh Organizing Group held its fiftieth protest at the military recruitment station in Oakland, effectively shutting it down for the entire day.
Shortly before 11:00 am, forty protesters gathered outside for a two hour picket designed to keep anti-war resistance in the public eye as President Bush calls for 20,000 additional troops to be deployed to Iraq.
During the action, a whipped-cream pie was thrown at the recruitment center door. The door was also spray painted with the slogan "we lie." One protester was arrested, away from the event, supposedly for the painting of the door. POG members were outside the Allegheny County Jail on Saturday night in solidarity for the individual who was arrested.
In a continuing trend, Pittsburgh Police monitoring the picket harassed the group with homophobic comments, calling them (quote) “faggots”. The Lieutenant on the scene also tried to steal and throw out a number of signs and attendees' personal items because, although they were not blocking the sidewalk, she stated that anything touching the ground was considered "abandoned property." After the protest, three police vehicles followed a group of five protesters for blocks.
At this picket, POG members announced a major action coming up on March 2nd in which protesters plan to blockade the National Robotics Engineering Center, a branch of Carnegie Mellon University that develops robotic vehicles and weapons delivery systems for the U.S. Army and Marines.
[2:30] VFA Victory Victoria’s Secret Agrees to Paper Standards for Catalogs
After two years of working locally on the Victoria’s Dirty Secret campaign, Voices for Animals of Western Pennsylvania has declared a victory in one of their major campaigns against the lingerie retailer. On December 6th, Victoria’s Secret announced that it will adopt more environmentally sustainable paper standards for its catalog. The company will move toward buying paper certified by a group that scrutinizes logging practices.
Victoria’s Secret was sending out between 350 and 400 million catalogs a year - over a million catalogs a day - on paper made of little to no recycled content. According to Forest Ethics, much of the paper was logged from endangered forests such as the Boreal Forest in Canada. Determined to join the fight against deforestation, the destruction of millions of animals’ homes, and the natural ecosystems the animals depend on, Voices for Animals united with the national environmental organization Forest Ethics in their campaign to reform Victoria’s Secret’s destructive catalog industry practices. After many protests, leafletings, and public actions such as a Funeral March through Shadyside and a Victoria’s Secret Chainsaw Massacre Protest, the organization has claimed a victory in this campaign.
The campaign against Victoria's Secret was launched two years ago on a national level by ForestEthics. The organization created a website called "Victoria's Dirty Secret," and supporters across the country held more than 750 demonstrations outside stores.
The retailer said that next year it will shift its catalogs to paper that is recycled. They will either use paper with at least ten percent post-consumer waste, or that has at least ten percent of its content certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The council has a rigorous set of benchmarks for forest management, including measures to protect wildlife and a prohibition on logging levels that exceed forest-growth levels. It uses third-party audits to evaluate paper suppliers, and its requirements are favored by environmentalists over other groups' forest-management guidelines.
Because Victoria's Secret mails hundreds of millions of catalogs a year, its moves are likely to have a ripple effect on paper mills and across the rest of the catalog industry. ForestEthics said it will immediately turn its attention to other large retailers that it believes haven't made adequate environmental commitments such as Sears, J Crew, and LL Bean. Todd Paglia, executive director of ForestEthics, stated, "The catalog industry in general is badly in need of reform. It's tremendously inefficient and destructive environmentally."
In 2005, companies mailed 19.16 billion catalogs in the U.S., up fifteen percent from 16.6 billion in 2000, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
[3:30] Umoja Village
In response to skyrocketing property values, a lack of affordable housing, increasing gentrification and government corruption, several organizations and individuals took control of a vacant publicly owned lot in Liberty City, Miami on October 23, 2006. Since then, over forty otherwise homeless people have taken up residency on this lot, built shanties, and established The Umoja Village. The Umoja Village shantytown is partially protected by the Pottinger Settlement, which states that homeless people may engage in life sustaining activities even if these activities would normally be classified as misdemeanors.
However, the Miami City Attorney crafted an ordinance that could have led to the eviction of Umoja Village. Max Rameau, an organizer with Umoja Village explains the ordinance.
* umojaupdate1.ogg: 1:05
This ordinance was not passed. Max Rameau:
* umojaupdate2.ogg: 1:10
Umoja Village residents, organizers and supporters are claiming victory but still fear the ordinance may be passed in the future. For more information visit takebacktheland.blogspot.com and listen to the November 6th edition of Rustbelt Radio.
[2:30] Guantanamo Protests
January 11th marked the fifth anniversary of the first "war on terror" detainee's arrival at the Guantanamo Detention Center.
Demonstrators rallied outside the US prison in GuantĂˇnamo Bay, Cuba and at sites around the world on Thursday, January 11, calling for the facility’s closure and an end to human rights abuses. A former inmate, relatives of detainees and other activists marched to Gitmo’s gates where four hundred men continue to be held. Protesters also rallied in Washington DC, London, New York City, Madrid, Melbourne and Tel Aviv. The New Standard Radio News brings us this report:
In Washington DC, ninety protesters were arrested after illegally entering the US Supreme Court building. Those arrested were part of a group of nearly 300 demonstrators -- a loose coalition of antiwar, civil liberty and religious organizations.
U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan tried to reach an accommodation with the protesters inside the Supreme Court Building, ordering that they be allowed to remain if they removed or covered their shirts, which had anti-Guantanamo slogans, and put away their signs so as not to disrupt trials underway. Court security officials said it was the first time in recent history that a protest had been allowed inside the federal court.
When the group refused to remove their shirts and signs, they were handcuffed and taken away. All were expected to be released that night.
[3:30] US Marine Rapist in Philippines is Transferred to US Custody
In the Phillipines, government officials have transferred a US Marine into the custody of US officials. The Marine was convicted of raping a Filipina woman in a van at a US military base in the Philippines on November 1, 2005. At the time of the original case, three other Marines charged with participating in the rape of the same woman were all cleared of charges. All four Marines had been stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and had been visiting the Philippines for military training.
The decision to transfer Daniel Smith into US custody goes against Phillipine judicial procedures. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has cited as a reason for this transfer the need to "preserve bilateral ties" between the Philippines and the United States. Activists have observed that this decision reinforces the already deafening silence around the US military's active perpetuation of sexual violence against women around the world.
The very presence of US troops in the Philippines goes against the Philippine constitution, which in 1986 stated, "no foreign troops will be allowed in any part of the archipelago for combat purposes." In 1999, the Philippine Senate, under US pressure, ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States of America and the Philippines, which allowed for the holding of large scale joint military exercises of both countries' armed forces on Philippine territory.
The visiting Forces Agreement has resulted in US troops receiving a virtual immunity from prosecution upon committing crimes against people in the Philippines.
On the transfer of accused rapist Daniel Smith to US custody, Myrla Baldonado, spokesperson of Task Force Subic Rape, remarked, "It's an utterly shameless act of collaboration of the Arroyo regime and the U.S. government." Members of the task force took to the streets of Manila last week in protest of the decision. A statement from their blog reads,
"We renew our call for the Senate to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) for undermining our laws and judicial system, extending more rights and privileges to U.S. soldiers and denying equal treatment to Filipino citizens. Moreover, the VFA has been a convenient cover for continuing U.S. intelligence and military operations in the country in pursuit of U.S. military adventurism and their strategic economic interest in this region. We firmly believe that the ultimate judge of this case will be the Filipino people in their aspirations for justice and national sovereignty, and in solidarity with people's movements everywhere to establish the conditions for lasting peace."
For more information on the movement to end the visiting forces agreement in the Philippines, you can visit
Taskforcesubicrape.blogspot.com and www.labanngmasa.org
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[10:00] Anti-violence march in New Orleans
Last week, Rustbelt Radio reported on the outbreak of violence in New Orleans, which claimed nine lives in the first ten days of 2007. In response, thousands of people took to the streets in New Orleans last Thursday, January 11, in a march to city hall. A range of speakers addressed the crowd, including friends and family of the victims, representatives of various neighborhood organizations, religious leaders, and local musicians.
While the speakers represented a racially diverse group from many different sections of the majority-black city, the march attendees were overwhelmingly white. Held at mid day in the business district, the march was a subdued and quiet event. In stark contrast, African Americans came out in large numbers on the weekends for the second line, a lively parade of brass bands, dancing, and singing in honor of the deceased.
Standing at city hall, while the mayor and police superintendent watched and listened, Karen Gadbois was one of many speakers to focus her attention on condemning politicians for the crisis.
everson - marching for ... (0:28)
Bart Everson, friend of murder victim Helen Hill, went on to express the indignation of many middle class whites:
everson main edit (1:54)
everson conviction (0:16)
In response to the calls for tougher police enforcement, social justice activists have pointed out that Louisiana already has the highest incarceration rate in the US, and the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As many of the white speakers demanded immediate action and repeatedly called on city officials to (quote) "do their jobs," the police superintendent has proposed imposing a citywide curfew and hiring more police.
Several black speakers spoke of being harassed by police, and rejected the proposals of a larger police force and escalated enforcement tactics. Some of their ideas to address social crisis included: education, music, cultural pride, and foregiveness.
Trombone player Glenn Andrews has played in many local brass bands and was a friend of Dinerral Shavers.
Finally we'll hear from Nakita Shavers, younger sister of murdered musician Dinerral Shavers, whose brief but heartfelt and emotional statement overshadowed the political diatribes.
Thanks to Geoffrey Hennies for recording the rally speakers. More sounds and photos from the event are available at neworleans.indymedia.org
Disgusted by the corporate media coverage of last summer's war in Lebanon, independent journalists Ana Nogueira and Andrew Stern travelled to Lebanon to document the human cost of this conflict. Throughout the 34 day war 1200 people were killed, thousands more wounded and over one million people displaced. In their multimedia presentation Samidoun, Nogueira and Stern both documented this devastation caused by Israel's bombing campaign as well as the inspiring work done by activists and students who provided much needed relief in the war's aftermath. In December they premiered the Samidoun presentation in Pittsburgh. Afterwards Rustbelt Radio had the opportunity to talk with Ana Nogueira and Andrew Stern about their work as independent journalists.
samidoun NEW (18:45)
To obtain a copy of the Multimedia Samidoun presentation contact info AT pittsburgh-psc.org. To view some of Ana Nogueira's video reports filed from Lebanon, go to Democracynow.org and for more information about the Lebanese organization Samidoun you can go to samidoun.org that's s-a-m-i-d-o-u-n dot o-r-g
[8:00] MLK MIX
Today is a federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. His actual birthdate was January 15, 1929. Rustbelt Radio brings you a sound collage of some of Dr. King's words, including excerpts form the anti-imperialist speech "Beyond Vietnam," with primary source audio from Democracy Now, Pacifica Archives, Miami Indymedia, and the Freedom Archives. Music for this collage comes from pieces by Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Natural Self.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
On Tuesday the 16th, join Pgh Friends Of Immigrants in an open mic rally outside city county building to support their resolution for immigrants' rights in Pittsburgh. After the open mic, PFOI member will speak in front of city council open session in the chambers' office at 10am. For more information contact: PFOIinfo @gmail.com
On Wednesday the 17th, join former Merton Center Director Tim Vining for a luncheon presentation entitled "Katrina: Exposing the Reality of Race in America". This will be held at 12:30 at the St. Agnes Center on the campus of Carlow University in Oakland.
On Saturday January 20th, the Black and White Reunion will be holding their annual summit against Racism. This year's theme is titled “Building Bridges from The Dream to a New Reality: A Fresh Look at Diversity”. The summit will be held from 9 am to 3pm at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Avenue in East Liberty. To register call (412) 441-3800 extension 32.
On Monday morning, January 22nd, join other bus riders and trolley riders for a march and rally to demand 'no service cuts and no fare hikes'. The march will be held from 8:30 to 10:00am at Sixth Ave. and William Penn Place Downtown and will end at the Pittsburgh Hilton, where the Port Authority public hearing will be held at 10 am. For more information call 412-361-3022 OR email zeidersamanda @gmail.com
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts and contributors this week are Matt Toups and Andalusia Knoll with additional contributions from Carlin Christy and Vani Natarajan. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Tracy Braswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.