community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On this week's show... * Domestic workers in New York and California speak out about the challenges found in their line of employment and the organizing efforts to better their situations * The struggle against the new casino continues... This time on the Northside * Updates on the South Central Farm in Los Angeles and the Shell to Sea Campaign in Ireland * A new group in Pittsburgh is organizing to fight racism and recognize white privilege * and more in our local and global headlines
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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...
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 WPTS from 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.
A new Pittsburgh discussion group is confronting the way people feel about racism by examining the issue from a different perspective. The White Privilege and Anti-Racist Organizing Discussion Group will address how non-minorities can face issues concerning racism. Meetings will feature open discussions, guest lectures from local activists, and a film screening scheduled for June 20th.
Co-founder Noah Lewis talks about some of the topics that that the group will address:
The documentary “Mirrors of Priviledge: Making Whiteness Visible” will be shown at this week’s meeting followed by a group discussion. The film follows several white men and women as they talk about their own perception of racism and how they have gained a better understanding of the issue.
Lewis hopes that participants in the anti-racist group will similarly gain more knowledge about racism and incorporate this into their own lives
More from Lewis on why he feels activists will particularly benefit from joining the group and engaging in these discussions.
The White Privilege and Anti-Racist Organizing Discussion Group will meet on June 20th at 6:30pm in the United Cerebral Palsy Building located in Oakland. For more information on the group, please visit www.animalfreedom.info
Last Fall Rustbelt Radio closely covered the Hill District resident’s proclamation of “not one more inch” in their successful fight to keep a casino from coming into their neighborhood. The fight ended in December with the decision of the state Gaming Control Board not to give the Isle of Capri the rights to build in the Hill.
The ending of the Hill District’s fight began a new struggle for the North Side neighborhoods as in the same stroke the Gaming and Control Board awarded Majestic Star Casino the rights build a $410 million casino on the North Side near the Carnegie Science Center.
That is where Pittsburgh UNITED comes in.
With funding from the Ford Foundation and local grants, Pittsburgh UNITED is a coalition of 15 groups whose goal is to promote the welfare of working families. An eclectic group, Pittsburgh UNITED is made up of union members, the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, the Sierra Club of Western Pennsylvania, and the Hill District Consensus Group to name a few. They are petitioning the casino developers for a green building design, good-paying jobs and investment in public services.
It is called a Community Benefit Agreement when communities make legally binding compromises with large-scale developers, like the Majestic Star. More than a dozen communities across the country, most located in California, have completed the goal of holding developers responsible for certain guarantees to the residents of the area, and the Northside hopes to be the next.
The group says they aim to start small at first, but they don’t plan on ending small. Ronell Guy, UNITED member and co-founder of the North Side Coalition for Fair Housing out lines what they would like to see in the long run: (quote) The dream is that developers would understand and policy makers would understand that this is the right thing to be doing with our development dollars. The long-term goal is to change the debate about how development is done and to build communities that are stronger (end quote).
In the early morning hours of June 2nd and June 6th, several businesses in the East End had windows smashed and other property damaged. The vandalism was accompanied by political graffiti, including the phrase “stop using money”, a circle-A sign, and a circle with a slash through it over the letters “G8”. The June 2nd incidents occurred at the Quiet Storm, an independently owned coffeeshop in Garfield, and at the East End Food Coop, a non-profit consumer’s co-op grocery store. The June 6th vandalisms hit five chain businesses -- Talbots, the Gap, Coach, Apple and Starbucks -- and one independent optometrist's office, all located on Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Pittsburgh Police have made no arrests and issued no statements asserting that they know who is responsible. They have said that the vandals were two men wearing dark clothing on dark bicycles. However, City Councilman Bill Peduto, within whose district the vandalism occurred, held a press conference on June 6th where he accused the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, also known as POG, of being behind the vandalism. Peduto said the evidence for this was that there have been several previous incidents of vandalism by people wearing black hoods and masks, including damage to the military recruiting station in Oakland and to Carnegie Mellon’s Wean hall. Peduto said (quote) There is a clear and definite pattern. It would be irresponsible not to consider the possibility that it's POG, if it's people in black. There is a definite group of anti-G-8, anti-recruiting individuals who are vandalizing the East End. (endquote)
In response to Peduto’s accusations, POG released a statement, which read in part: “The Pittsburgh Organizing Group did not organize the vandalism and the group had no involvement in any part of the action. POG is an above ground organization that holds public events and is frequently in the public eye. We do not organize property destruction or actions involving physical harm to humans or non-human animals. When we hold actions we report on them on our Web site, either before or after the fact.”
Peduto’s office said the Councilman declined to comment for this story, because he had agreed not to make any more public statements about the incident until he met with a POG member some time this week.
POG member Alex Bradley offered his personal reaction:
Peduto made several statements in the days following the press conference that were not consistent with his original allegations.
The POG statement also faulted Peduto for failing to respond to their attempts to dialogue. Alex Bradley was personally disappointed:
In response to criticism, Peduto said (quote) "They're saying it's irresponsible for me to isolate any one group. What other group of anarchists are there in this city?" and (quote) “The calls I received were more threatening than requesting. It’s difficult to respond to anarchists.”
Bradley said that POG is not an anarchist group, although some of its members consider themselves anarchists, and that the calls Peduto received included many people who were not anarchists, and not even members of POG, but part of a wider community concerned with civil liberties and social justice.
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.
Throughout 2005 and 2006, thousands of people fought to save the South Central Farm, an oasis of green and fresh air in an otherwise industrial section of Los Angeles. The 14 acre urban community farm was a source of organic produce and native and indigenous plants for 350 low income and minority families. For 14 years, these people drew a sense of pride from not only being able to feed their own families, but also being able to share in the cultivation of their traditional plants that came from Mexico and other parts of Central America.
After struggling against the City of Los Angeles, and the land's original owner-- real estate developer Ralph Horowitz-- the Farmers lost their land and were evicted in June of 2006. Although farmers and their supporters maintained a constant vigil to guard the crops, the bulldozers eventually came in and destroyed all 14 acres of the farm. Horowitz had stated at the time that the land would be used to build another industrial warehouse. Officials claimed that it would be converted into a soccer field as a concession to the families who lost their land.
On Thursday June 14th, two hundred South Central Farm supporters gathered to remember the one year anniversary of their eviction, and continue the momentum to move forward. Community activist Dele Aileman was one of the speakers at the farmers reunion.
Environmental activist John Quigley, a tree sitter from last year's encampment, was also one of those who came to the farm to celebrate its memory and organize for the future of the farm. Looking at the undeveloped land, he stated it was a bittersweet feeling. More from John on the people involved in the struggle to save- and continue the farm:
The Farmers continue their work and host a monthly gathering around the old site to sell produce and other locally produced items. For more updates on their work, go to south central farmers.com
Over June 9th and 10th, Dianet Valencia Plucinski ran 80 miles in remembrance of over 80 women and children who have died crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. Plucinski ran from Louisville to Lexington, Kentucky and was joined on her journey by many supporters. The event also brought attention to the need for immigration reform that will respect undocumented immigrant workers.
Stephen Bartlett, Co-Convener of the May Day Coalition of Kentucky, explains the inspiration behind the event.
Each year, there are hundreds of deaths at the border usually resulting from exposure to the desert elements. Both Plucinski, who is Mexican-American, and event sponsor, Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, organized the race in memory of the more than 80 women and children who died crossing the border in the last year and with the hope that this event will bring more attention to these tragic deaths and the need for legislation that values immigrant workers and their families.
More from Bartlett on the support which Dianet received:
To learn more about the race organizers and their ongoing efforts for immigrant rights, please visit www.kccir.org/Miles.html
This past week saw further development in the Shell to Sea campaign in County Mayo, Ireland. On Tuesday, Shell tried to install a portacabin -a small, prefabricated office-on the land of pub-owner Paddy McGrath. The Gardai asserted that the council had given permission for the installation and that the pier was a public facility. Shell to Sea campaigners argued that Shell was trying to move it through a private road on Mr. McGrath’s land and the intended location for the portacabin was in fact, not public land.
Shell to Sea activists quickly gathered to block the transport of the cabin, and Gardai had to use a bolt cutter to remove a lock from one of Mr. McGrath's gates. The Gardai then ordered the portacabin's excavator to push protesters out of the way and they then proceeded down to the pier. Protesters sustained injuries from both the excavator and the Gardai. There was one arrest.
Eventually the portacabin was placed by the pier. The following day Mr. McGrath taped a solicitor's letter to the portacabin stating that it was on his land illegally and if it were not removed, an injunction would be sought to remove it. A representative from Shell contacted Mr. McGrath and promised the portacabin would be removed by the next morning.
The Shell to Sea campaign also saw a political development last week. Green Party Assembly Delegate and Shell to Sea campaigner Eamon Ryan was appointed to the ministry with responsibility for the Corrib Gas project in County Mayo. Last Thursday, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern appointed Ryan to the new portfolio of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, where his responsibilities will include overseeing the controversial Corrib Gas project. The Irish Green Party has adopted a resolution that it would deny consent for the pipeline project until after (quote) "a full, independent review."
However, on the morning before his appointment, Ryan was asked by a caller to a radio show whether the Greens would stand by their resolution. Ryan responded, (quote) "I think what we will try and do is ensure that the process and the licensing and consent process goes through in as open and as consultative a manner as is possible." He had previously said of the Corrib gas project, (quote) "I have serious concerns that the Government constantly took Shell's side, in effect, throughout this process."
And now we bring you Mumia Abu-Jamal, recorded on June 12th by Prison Radio. Mumia speaks on the role of spectacle in mainstream media and the prison industry:
That was Mumia Abu-Jamal, recorded by Prison Radio. To hear more radio essays by Mumia, visit prisonradio.org.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Domestic workers, which include nannies, housekeepers, and those who care for the elderly are working long hours, with low wages, and no job security in homes all across America. In the New York Metropolitan Area, there are an estimated 200,000 domestic workers. Many of the women in this field come from countries in the Carribean, Latin America, and Africa, seeking a better life for themselves and their familes. Today, Rustbelt Radio will bring you a report on the lives of domestic workers in New York and California. This piece originally aired on May 9th on Making Contact, a production of The National Radio Project.
You have been listening to Making Contact, for more information on the show, go to www.radioproject.org.
To find out more about domestic workers, and their struggles to organize for better conditions, go to domestic workers united.org , mujeres unidas.net, or immigrant solidarity.org
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Matt Toups and Jessica McPherson with contributions from Vani Natarajan, Lizzie Anderson, Diane Amdor, Carlin Christy, Veronica Milliner, Donald Deeley, and Jessica McPherson. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Phill Cresswell. 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.