Quick follow-up to my post from a year and a half ago: today a state court ruled against Columbia’s attempted use of Eminent Domain to seize control of property from minority business owners in Harlem as well as their insidious claim that the neighborhood was “blighted.”
Palestine Update, 1
In late February, almost two weeks ago, Israel launched a five day offensive into the Gaza strip. In these five days, over 120 Palestinians were killed, the majority of them civilians. The incursion was reportedly in response to rockets being fired at Israeli towns and settlements from Gaza by Hamas. Hamas has stated it has been firing rockets in protest of the siege on Gaza and the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine.
To put the siege on Gaza in some perspective, Amnesty International has recently released a report detailing that Gaza is in its worst condition since the Occupation of Palestine began in 1967. 1.1 Million Gazans, or three fourths of the population, depend on humanitarian aid just to survive. The number of refugees has increased tenfold since 1999, even straining the special UN organization established specifically to deal with Palestinian refugees. Average household incomes have dropped 22% in the last four months alone. 70% of all households earn less than $1.20 per capita daily. Unemployment is at 40% in the Gaza strip. These facts are all direct affects of the blockades and border restrictions Israel has placed on Gaza. As a result of this humanitarian crisis, the UN appeal for humanitarian aid to Gaza is the third largest in the world this year after Sudan and Congo, at 462 million dollars. That amount of humanitarian aid of course being a fraction of the 2.5-3 billion dollars that the United States gives to Israel in aid, over a third of it specified as military aid. Continue reading
Originally aired on February 13, 2008
On this past Monday (February 11th) there was a demonstration in sympathy with the Zapatista Movement against the Mexican President Felipe Calderon held in Boston. Calderon was invited to speak at the Harvard Business School. It was a nice homecoming for Calderon, who was trained how to wage war against popular movements by Harvard’s JFK School of Government, where he received his Masters of Public Administration.
There were a number of radical leftist groups that put out a call for some sort of demonstration against Calderon’s visit to Boston. Among those groups were the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement, the Mayday Coalition, Harvard Students for a Democratic Society, and the Socialist Party USA. There were of course also sympathetic groups of liberals as well as the anti-immigrant right-wingers that held their own demonstrations on Monday.
But the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM, for short) held its demonstration for a very different reason. BAAM has been placing a lot of focus and using a lot of energy on solidarity work with the people’s revolutions in Mexico: the popular movements in Oaxaca and the autonomous Zapatista communities in Chiapas. But BAAM has also been doing a lot of work in the poorer suburbs of Boston where Harvard has been secretly buying up real estate so that it can expand its campus. So BAAM members see a parallel between Harvard’s imperialism in their own backyard and Mexico’s imperialism in the indigenous lands of Chiapas. Continue reading