community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: FBI raids and subpoenas target peace activists around the country; Lawrenceville residents organize a block party to prevent their library from closing; Voices from the Justice for Jordan March; More environmental insights from the Green Compass; A report back from the Community and Resistance Tour and more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for September 27, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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 from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local stories.
You are listening to Chuck Staresinic (Star-se-nik), President of Friends of the Lawrenceville Library, a library advocacy group fighting to keep the Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library system from closing.
On Monday September 9th, a block party and art auction was organized by residents to raise money and garner support to keep the library permanently open. Nearly 300 people flowed in and out of the event, complete with music, food, and prizes donated by local artists and businesses.
Over a year ago, the Carnegie Library Board of Trustees announced plans to close six libraries in Pittsburgh due to funding shortfalls. This decision triggered an immediate response from residents all over the City in opposition to the proposed closings. The City found funding to keep them open in the short term, but no permanent funding has been found to keep the libraries opened indefinitely.
Meanwhile in Lawrenceville, residents organized small satellite parties, before the events eventually evolved into a larger art auction and raffle outside the library.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with Lawrenceville resident and one of the event organizers, Chuck Staresnic (Star-se-nik). He explains why he decided to organize the library benefit.
Staresinic (Star-se-nik) points out the historical significance of the library and its architecture.
Staresinic says, that while the libraries are being kept open due to public pressure, major cuts are being made to the entire library branch system.
This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the Pittsburgh G20 Summit. Local film director, John Detwiler (DETT–wye–lurr), brings us excerpts from his documentary, "Pittsburgh Welcomes." In preparation for protests and marches held against the Summit, activists met with the Pittsburgh City Council. They express to the City Council that they are trying to protest within the guidelines outlined by the City.
Next, President Barack Obama comments on the peaceful demonstrations, as the film transitions into the night when Pittsburgh Police surround and arrest a crowd in Schenley Park.
* confrontation.ogg: Welcome_confrontation.ogg (1:35)
Directors of the Citizen Police Review Board and the American Civil Liberties Union discuss the repercussions of the G20 Summit on Pittsburgh.
You've been listening to excerpts from the independent documentary, "Pittsburgh Welcomes." The film will be screened Wednesday, September 29th at 7pm, at Community House Presbyterian Church on Pittsburgh's North Side.
For directions to the screening, visit www.communityhousepittsburgh.org.
On this next installment of the Green Compass, local students explore the issue of cosmetics and their health effects on young girls:
Thanks to the Saturday Light Brigade for this story which was produced by local students during the summer of 2010.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from around the world.
In the early morning hours of Friday, September 24th, federal agents in the Midwest raided the Minneapolis office of the Anti-War Movement and the Minneapolis and Chicago homes of well-known antiwar activists. Minneapolis activist Mick Kelly was interviewed by The Uptake:
Speaking at a public meeting later that night, Minneapolis activist Cherrene Horazuk (HOR-A-ZOOK) rounded up the days events:
An estimated total of 20 activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, and also Michigan, were subpoenaed to attend the grand jury. In addition to the morning's raids and subpoenas, Chicago activist, Tom Burke, confirmed to Rustbelt Radio that other activists in North Carolina and California were simultaneously questioned in their homes by federal agents.
The search warrants and subpoenas referenced travel to Columbia, Jordan, Syria, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and [quote] "any other foreign locations". The documents additionally named the Colombian revolutionary group FARC, the Lebanese resistance movement Hezballah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The text cites [quote] "material support" for [quote] "foreign terrorist organizations" as defined by the State Department. The phrase "material support" has been ambiguously legally defined by the U.S. Supreme Court as [quote] “expert advice or assistance” and [quote] “service”—not just financial support.
The activists targeted are well known in their communities and involved with a variety of leftist organizations and campaigns including the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian Political Prisoner).
The prevailing reaction of the targeted activists appears to be bemusement. In Minneapolis, as FBI agents searched her home, Anti-War Committee member Jess Sundin spoke outside to members of the media and community that had gathered:
The raids, seizures, and Grand Jury subpoenas of the peace activists come in the wake of recent devastating news about the FBI's over-reaching of its powers. At the Minneapolis community meeting called on the evening of the raids, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley spoke:
Rustbelt Radio spoke with Rowley over the weekend to ask her to put the events in context:
Following the revelation of more prohibited COINTELPRO-type domestic espionage against CSPES–the Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador—the FBI had a shake-up to ostensibly set up more checks and balances.
This report was compiled with audio from The Uptake and Ethan Fender.
On Saturday, September 18th, Jordan Flaherty (pronounce: FLARE-a-tee) and Jesse Muhammad spoke to a crowd at East Liberty’s Shadow Lounge as a part of their national Community and Resistance Tour. The tour sought to (quote) connect communities of liberation and to build relationships between grassroots activists and independent media (end quote).
Flaherty, a New Orleans based journalist, community organizer and author of the book “Floodlines,” first took the stage and spoke about the myriad of issues that have been affecting New Orleans after Katrina and then paid particular focus to criminal justice issues:
Flaherty gave more examples of the resistance to the injustice of the police brutality and the cover ups and then the subsequent investigations that have finally taken place:
After the investigations, oversight of the police force now looks to have been won – yet the kind of oversight is still undecided. It’s possible it will be federal oversight – which residents have been skeptical about. He quoted a local community organizer as saying(quote) We don’t want the same government that’s killing people overseas to oversee our police department – we don’t trust them either – we want a real citizen controlled department (end quote). Local activists are working on a "People Consent Decree" to make sure their demands are heard and incorporated into the plan.
Flaherty ended by speaking about learning from our struggles to collectively build a broader based movement
Jesse Muhammad, a Texan journalist for the only black owned, nationally distributed and independent newspaper, The Final Call, spoke next about the Jena 6 and his involvement
During his visit to Jena in July, 2007, the families organized a rally of 300 people. Out of that grew the grass roots organized September 20th march that drew an estimated 15 to 20 thousand people – with at least ten buses worth of those people being students from Texas that Muhammad helped to get there.
From the momentum of that action, some of the students who traveled with Muhammad came up with the “Five P’s of organizing “ that can be used for further organizing efforts. The Five Ps are: People that are spirited and dedicated, a concrete Purpose, Propaganda to communicate and promote, performance which executes the actions and procedurals for following up to record the history of our movements. The evening ended with a question and dialog period. An audience member asked about what the touring members felt was the most productive relationship between independent and corporate media. Muhammad and then Flaherty respond.
For more information on the Community and Resistance Tour, as well as Jesse Muhammad and Jordan Flaherty, visit: communityandresistance.wordpress.com
You've been listening to 'Stand Up for Jordan Miles,' recorded by the Creative Writing Students at CAPA High School, in Spring of 2010.
In August, the Alliance for Police Accountability delivered a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures to Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen Zappala. The petition called for prosecution of the officers involved in the Jordan Miles case. With no end to the investigation in sight, the community rallied in Homewood to demand that their voices be heard.
Rustbelt Radio caught up with organizers, activists and supporters at the Justice for Jordan March, on September 18th.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
* The Thomas Merton Center Antiwar Committee is calling for an emergency protest against FBI raids and spying as part of a day of nationwide actions. The rally and press conference will be held at the Federal Building on Grant St., downtown Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 5:00pm – 5:45pm.
* Until the end of September, the Children's Museum is holding a month-long program to encourage peace and conflict resolution as part of "Remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace 2010". Visit www.pittsburghkids.org for more information.
* See the documentary "Workers' Republic" on the 2008 sit-in & victory by members of the United Electrical Workers (UE), at Republic Windows & Doors Plant in Chicago. Presentation by UE News Editor, Al Hart, and discussion to follow. Tuesday, September 28th at 7:30pm, in the William Pitt Student Union, Dining Room A at the University of Pittsburgh.
* The August Wilson Center for African American Culture, along with the Institute for Transfusion Medicine, will open a new exhibit "Bridging the Blood: Your Blood Line is Mine" on Saturday, October 2nd. The mixed-media visual art exhibition addresses the lack of blood donations in the African American community.
* Project to End Human Trafficking information and training seminars are held the second Saturday of every month. Next seminar is on October 9th. For more information, visit endhumantrafficking.org, that's END HUMAN T-R-A-F-F-I-C-K-I-N-G dot org.
* "Write On!" an organization that works for prisoners' rights, needs help answering its 60 letters a month from people in prison dealing with abuse and neglect. Meet every Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Avenue, in Garfield.
* The weekly gathering of Black Voices for Peace to protest war, takes place at 1:00-2:00 pm on Saturdays at the corner of Penn and Highland in East Liberty.
* "Paper Politics" is an ongoing exhibit at SPACE gallery of a major collection of contemporary politically and socially engaged printmaking. "Paper Politics" continues until October 24th, showcasing print art which uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Visit spacepittsburgh.org for more information.
* Marcellus Shale public hearings, trainings, and informational meetings continue to take place in Pittsburgh and statewide. To keep up to date with events, see the calendar on marcellusprotest.org.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are [Amos Levy] and [ ] with contributions from Seth Bearden, Carlin Christy, Emily DeMarco, Nigel Parry and Jessica McPherson (NOTE: MAC-FUR-SON). This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. Become our fan on Facebook to receive updates on our latest episode. All of our shows are available 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.