IdleNoMore solidarity action in Olympia yesterday with members of First Nations who have been affected by the government of Canada. More information and pictures, on the Internet, official website: Idle No More, on Facebook: Idle No More and Idle No More Olympia, Idle No More Olympia Twitter Page @IdleNoMoreOly, Twitter hashtag search for photos, video, news and more stories: #idlenomore. Also, The Olympian has a story, here.
Welcome to Olympia, the walkers have arrived, and word is they will be fasting this week, in hopes of impressing upon the legislature the need for moral solutions, and human rights.
Why We Walk - Robbie Stern , more videos available from the SEIU youtube account
plus bonus Bernie Sanders "Robinhood in Reverse" video below the break:
update: more photos posted below the fold
Monday 7 February 2011
Washington State Capitol Campus, Olympia—Welfare rights activists gathered at the capitol today to protest budget cuts that disproportionately affect poor people. Members of POWER (that stands for Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights) as well as members of Washington CAN (Community Action Network —some of whom traveled from Seattle) rallied just to the South of the Legislative Building, around the campus sundial.
Members of Washington CAN handed out packets with soap, disinfectant, and face-masks designed to protect against disease brought on by big corporate lobbyists. According to CAN, today was Big Bank Lobby Day.
There was lunch, provided by volunteers, and at one point people gathered in a hearty chant of "beat back the bank attack!"
In this photo, there are a couple of guys with cowboy hats. Obviously, people lobby on various causes on the same day, but then maybe the new style for big bank lobbyists is to wear cowboy hats.
I was handing out copies of the February 2011 Works in Progress, but most of the people working on the capitol campus would not take them, and many would not even look me in the eye.
"Dear Legislators: You have choices.... Don't hurt people...."
POWER (Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights) attended legislative swearing in ceremonies in the Washington State Senate and House today to ask that legislators work to prevent harmful cuts to necessary social supports and services.
Disclaimer: This is a rough draft (please forgive the disorganization, and incomplete thoughts, of which I am aware) but I want to get these thoughts out. And also, this represents my current thinking, which is (as is everything) subject to change.
Over two months ago the Oly Food Co-op Board of Directors decided to boycott products from Israel. The Evergreen student body similarly voted for TESC to divest from Israel earlier this year. However, unlike the decision at Evergreen, the Co-op Board decision has created a stir, not only in the community of people who love and care about the Co-op, but in larger parts of the Olympia community and beyond. In fact the decision by the much loved and humble OFC has attracted a considerable amount of international attention.
The conflict in Israel/Palestine is a big deal. For example, what is happening there has major ramifications. The US government supports the government of Israel, despite its abuses. This is a glaring example of wrong that many people around the world point to in disgust and frustration. Many people around the world are opposed to US militarism, interventionism, and policies of dominance.
However, there is a lot of disagreement about the decision—and for a lot of different reasons (and some of the reasons probably make more sense than others.) There is polarization. There is "division." And this last part is what interests me: this division. Some people have argued that the boycott decision created division—that the decision in and of itself caused division—that it was divisive. The more I think about this, the more I am inclined to listen to that argument and grant it some merit—Although it is very complicated.
It seems to me that the boycott has definitely caused hurt feelings. But in terms of where it's caused "division" it's more difficult to say. Because divisions about the conflict in Israel/Palestine already existed, and have existed for a long time.
Update 9 Sep '10: In order to illuminate the local relevance of the following story from B'Tselem, about water in the Gaza Strip, I am adding the following preface:
One aspect of the conversation that has come up about the Oly Food Co-op boycott of products from Israel is the idea that it would have been better to pursue dialogue and seek consensus before enacting an agreement and engaging in the removal of products from shelves. I have heard that it would have been better to do this even if it would have taken "years" to reach a mutually agreeable consensus amongst all stake-holders.
The following article makes it clear to me why there is reason—urgent reason—to NOT delay, and to instead pursue BDS vigorously and assertively. There is good reason to proceed with urgency.
Because BDS seeks to address Aggression committed by the government of Israel against Palestinians, it makes sense to pursue BDS as a tactic in a way that mirrors the urgency of the crisis wrought by those same crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.
I also want to add something that I think should seem obvious, but goes without being stated nearly as often as I believe is justified by its importance in the ongoing conflict. (And please cut me some slack and forgive me if I am not stating this in the most sensitive manner.) What I am thinking about is that the cause of "Palestinian violence toward Israel/Israelis" is the very same apartheid to which they have been subjected. The Nakba. The creation of the Jewish State, unwelcome to so many—the great many whose concerns were invalidated and whose resistance stomped down with military force and precision.
Tuesday 31 August 2010, Olympia, Washington—Palestinian-American Ali Abunimah gave a presentation about BDS and the situation in Israel Palestine before an audience of about 120 people at the Olympia Center. Abunimah is a journalist, a co-founder of Electronic Intifada, and an author, including most recently of, One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. The event was organized and hosted by Olympia BDS.
Peace talks between representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Territories are scheduled to start tomorrow (Thursday,) but Abunimah said the expectations of many people are low, because of a precedent of bad-faith negotiations. He used a metaphor of pizza pie to explain the negotiations. For example, analogous to the occupation of the West Bank would be if he were to sit down to negotiation and immediately begin by grabbing pizza and stuffing it into his mouth, and if his partner were to complain, or to try grabbing some pizza for theirself, then he would slap them and chastise them for it.