Sandra Fluke to Speak in Indian Wells Thursday

The Planned Parenthood Riverside County Inaugural Dinner & Fundraiser will be featuring Sandra Fluke, the courageous law student who came forward to testify before the U. S. Congress regarding birth control and who was later reviled by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, et al. as the speaker at the event.

There is a rather hefty price tag for most occupiers for this event, but it is for the important cause of raising funds for Planned Parenthood, who is fighting against a continuing assault on women’s reproductive rights in the ongoing War on Women and should be well worth it.

It will be held at the Miramonte Resort & Spa at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, see:  Planned Parenthood Fundraiser

www.planned.org/rcdinner 

http://sandiegodowntownnews.com/opinion-local-planned-parenthood-celebrates-50-years-strong/

“Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance”

This year marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and there will be a Roe v. Wade Anniversary Commemoration at the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. Wed, Jan 22nd at 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. A broad coalition of partners, invites you to celebrate the Roe v. Wade ruling with a Film Screening of “Motherhood by Choice, Not Chance,” directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman. The showing of this important film is sponsored by: ACLU, Democratic Women of the Desert, Democrats of the Desert, Equality CA, Occupy Coachella Valley, Palm Springs NOW (National Organization For Women), Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Stonewall Democrats, and Veterans for Peace. If you have an organization that may wish to sponsor, have your board approve it, then notify OCV (we will pass it along to the key organizers) Please use this link to RSVP so they have a sense of how many to plan for.

Sign up for movie: “Motherhood by Choice, not Chance” at:

http://www.ppaction.org/site/Calendar?id=109461&view=Detail.  

See flier roe_v_wade1

TPP Shackles We the People & Democracy

TPP Action3 12-3-13In an action depicting corporate global rule symbolized by a corporate “king” twirling the world around on a string with one hand and dragging behind a jailed “We the People” and “democracy,” followed by a funereal procession of mourners dressed in black singing a TPP dirge and holding tombstones decrying the death of democracy, jobs, clean air, clean water, education, Internet freedom, medicine, and free speech.  Participants in the action spoke to passersby and handed out TPP information fliers in order to educate the public about this serious worldwide threat to the 99% and everything we hold dear.

TPP Action5 12-3-13TPP Action 12-3-13

TPP Action6 12-3-13

TPP Action2 12-3-13

TPP Action7 12-3-13

 CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS AND INSIST THAT THEY OPPOSE FAST TRACK OF THE TPP, THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY!!

Practical Activism in 2013: One Occupier’s View

Below is a presentation one of OCV’s occupiers gave regarding his view of the current practice of activism and the Occupy Movement at a recent VFP Memorial Day luncheon.

“I am happy to report that, despite non-stop media coverage to the contrary, Occupy is alive and kicking and more effective than ever.  And, despite nationwide coverage of five people in funny hats in front of the IRS building, the Tea Party isn’t.”

“As activists, we must also be pragmatists.  We have to step back and ask ourselves, from time to time:  “Are we being effective?  Is our message being heard?  Are we making the positive changes that we want?  If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is often no.  Times have changed but many us have not.  Many of us are still stuck in the 60s.  We assume that marching and carrying signs is enough.  If we are honest, however, we must admit that we need to go back to the drawing board and update our tactics.”

“A little background.  I am one of those 60s activists.  I helped to organize the first Wall St. demonstration to protest the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The NY Times called it the “Wall St Massacre”.   Was it a successful action?  By 60s standards, maybe so. We broadcast our message through major media. Would it work now?  Probably not.  Bloomberg would have the area in front of Treasury kettled off and protestors would be forced to a “free speech zone”. If they resisted, NYPD would wait until midnight and, then with the coordination of Homeland Security, would arrest the protestors with media denied access to the arrests.  There would be little mention of the arrests on the corporate media and America would tune out to watch reality shows and Dancing with the Stars.” 

“Can’t happen here? It did happen here. These same tactics were used to falsely arrest 7,000 Occupy activists nationwide, with little outrage; ninety five % of the charges were later dropped, but it didn’t matter.  The Constitution had been shredded, the activists demoralized, and the American public remained largely unaware of the erosion of their civil rights. Police response to activism has changed since the 60s.  The Patriot Act and the NDAA have created the possibility of a paramilitarized police presence.” 

“So how do activists respond in 2013?” 

1) “Always accept the precepts of Gene Sharp* (handout) and base all direct action on non-violence. The only sensible behavior against overwhelming force is non-violence.  Your rock is meaningless against an Apache helicopter or a drone and will be used as justification for violence on the part of the State.”

2) “Make sure that your direct actions are meaningful, by targeting a social, political, economic or environmental injustice that has local relevance.”

3)  “Become more of an expert on the subject than the groups causing the injustice.”

4) “Have a practical solution that can be presented to the public in direct action.”

5) “Use local media and the Internet to magnify your message.  Prepare professional press releases, videotape, blog, get creative and dramatize, write/perform songs, post on social media and YouTube, but frame the narrative, have a well-prepared message and spokespeople to give interviews.”

“As illustration of these 5 rules of effective activism, I offer you the Direct Action Committee Report presented at yesterday’s General Assembly:”

             DIRECT ACTION COMMITTEE REPORT 5/26/13

1)   Prior consent: 

a) Co-sponsor David Cobb speech on “Creating Democracy and Challenging Corporate Rule” at Crystal Fantasy 6/12 with Move-to-Amend.

b) Pass out brochures DHS Saturday, ABC, Kmart, Vons & Staters. 

c) Financial support for VFP luncheon.

2)   VFP luncheon. Noon, Monday, May 27

3)   A Better City for DHS.  Brochuring.  (Report Chuck, Bob, Rosie)

4)   Stonewall Democratic meeting (report Tracy)

5)   Occupy Dept. of Justice, D. C. mortgage action (report Deb)

6)   Drones (report Steve F.)

7)   Food not Bombs Monsanto action.  (Report from Carolyn, Tracy?)

8)   DSUSD work action (report Gabrielle)

9)   OurWalmart action.  La Quinta, Thursday 5/30 at 5 pm.

*For Gene Sharp’s precepts on non-violence, click on this link: 198 Methods of Non-Violent Action

For more information on Gene Sharp, see his book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” widely disseminated and used during the Arab Spring, pdf available at this link: From Dictatorship to Democracy  or go to http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations9173.html

Repeal the Monsanto Protection Act!! Join the International Day of Protest May 25!!

There will be worldwide protests this Saturday, May 25th, and right here in the desert against Monsanto Corporation and GMO’s. These events are a response to Monsanto’s hand in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), AKA Frankenfood, and other horrific practices they perpetrate. Join in to take part of the Occupy Monsanto/March Against Monsanto actions, right here in Coachella Valley, as we show our international solidarity!

It begins this Sat May 25th, in Indio at 7am on the corner of Madison and Hwy 111 (outside Stater Bros.) Then at 8am walk together to Food 4 less Monroe and Hwy 111 and lastly at 9am Rubidoux and 111 (outside Cardenas).  This is a chance to let the public know about Monsanto’s many dirty tactics, such as forcing farmers to use Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready”, which is a line of designer genetically-modified seeds … farmers are thus forced to continually line Monsanto’s pockets.

To get energized the night before, come see the film “The Future of Food” at Crystal Fantasy in downtown Palm Springs on Friday at 6pm.

Corporate corruption in Congress has led to legislation that allows Monsanto to evade any legal consequences for harm that may result from their GMO’s.  Please sign on at the link below in support of Senator Jeff Merkley’s effort to repeal what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act”!

http://www.jeffmerkley.com/petition/monsanto-reverse/

“Girl Rising” Coming to Inland Empire Theater May 13

The Older Women’s League (OWL), San Bernardino League of Women Voters, and Catalina’s List are sponsoring and promoting a screening of the film “Girl Rising” at the Regal Movie Theater at 450 N. “E” Street in San Bernardino on May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information:

Download the flier:  Girl Rising

Go to: http://gathr.us/screening/3137

Call 909/882-4057

Townhall with Congressman Raul Ruiz: One Occupier’s Impressions

I recently went to a town hall meeting in Banning that Ruiz was scheduled to attend.  I had been alerted to it by an email from the progressive caucus in Congress who were wanting people to go and ask representatives to sign on to the pledge to vote against any cuts to Social Security and Medicare.  So I went in order to do that and to bring up two other pressing issues, even though it was raining cats and dogs and I still had to get my trash out.

Ruiz began the meeting by telling a little “story” about his “humble beginnings,” then opened up the discussion for the city councilmembers, then to the audience.  Several people spoke up about the social safety net, jobs, VAWA, etc. (and one crazy individual who urged him to vote for the Keystone Pipeline of all things (!) at which I groaned audibly). I had my hand up for a long time but he ended the discussion with only two of us waiting to be called upon.

I had chimed in earlier with regard to the social safety net letting him know I had a letter for him to sign pledging that he would vote against any cuts to SS, Medicare, or Medicaid, to which he was dismissive, offering to “shake our hands” and “look us in the eye” instead of signing a pledge, so I think he was trying to avoid being pressed on it or any issue because he rather pointedly skipped over me, choosing instead to spend the remaining time telling another anecdote from his childhood about a mango and how it “taught (him) an important lesson.” I was a little too annoyed to pay much attention, so the lesson was lost on me–something self-congratulatory about how unselfish he is. . . (though obviously not when it comes to self-promotion over hearing from his constituents).

At the end of the meeting, I walked up and said, “Since you didn’t let me speak I am leaving you these documents” and he made excuses about time constraints, asking me what organizations I was with.  I answered “several” mentioning the email alert as well as Occupy, at which he took almost a visible step backward and directed me to leave my papers with his Head of Staff, Greg Rodriguez, who took down my name and email address.  The documents consisted of that pledge letter, along with the question I was going to ask regarding the TPP letting him know I am outraged at the way our government and  the corporations have been conducting negotiations in secret, urging him to get the TPP documents and look at them, along with a copy of the “We the People Amendment” which has just been introduced into congress—the one we need to get behind because it is the one that MTA has sponsored which addresses both corporate “personhood” and money as “speech.”

I don’t have much confidence in Ruiz—I first met him at a fundraiser when he was running for office and I find him self-aggrandizing and evasive and my experience at this townhall meeting confirmed this impression.  Hopefully he will come through on issues like Social Security, corporate “personhood,” and the TPP, but personally I don’t think he is much of a leader–I think he will roll over to whatever the White House wants in the end.  I get the strong vibe that he doesn’t want to be associated with anything too “controversial;” if he was that slippery with regard to making a firm commitment about Social Security to a room full of older adults, I think he would have been speechless regarding the TPP.

We will have to make sure he really feels the pressure and see how he votes—hopefully he won’t turn into another Joe Baca/Barack Obama who says one thing and does another.  I’m glad at least he voted for VAWA, but WE NEED TO LET HIM KNOW HE NEEDS TO JOIN THE PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS along with Grayson, Mark Takano, Raul Grijalva, and the few others who have spine enough to take on not only the Republicans but the White House over issues that count.

Coachella Valley United for Marriage for All Rally

Supreme Court Building

EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Tuesday March 26 ~ 6 PM

Riverside County Building ~ Tahquitz and El Cielo

Across from Palm Springs City Hall

On March 26 & 27, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) will be listening to oral arguments on the constitutionality of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. Now is our time to show the depth of equality and justice for all. Celebrate this historic event and take action! 

This event is a peaceful show of solidarity, a stand for LOVE and the Coachella Valley’s diverse support for marriage for everyone. Make signs to hold, bring candles and help show our desire to be equal. History is in the making and it is time to bring America into the 21st century. Let’s give people hope and create change by using the voice of the people. We are all part of our Desert community, of Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk, Cesar Chavez, Alice Paul, and many other allies and advocates who have fought to create change through action, through to our heroes of today!

CVUfMfA_Rally_Flyer

V-Day: 1 Billion Rising!

V-Day a Success!

Supporters of V-Day gathered at Ruth Hardy Park in Palm Springs on Valentine’s Day to speak out about the global oppression of women and its effects, joining together to express our grief and outrage.  Dr. Debra led us off with a blessing and a smudging, creating a sacred space, followed by a reading of Eve Ensler’s powerful poem, “RISING, written in Kerala for the women of India who lead the way,” and a speak-out.

Then we marched to Frances Stevens Park where there was a reading and signing of the Women’s Declaration of Independence, aka The Declaration of, by, and for Women, hand-printed on a huge parchment.

The Declaration of, by, and for Women

After the signing of the Declaration, we rang bells, blew whistles, and played drums, tambourines, and shook rattles in a dancing march through Village Fest, chanting “End Violence Against Women!” on our way, with support of people in the crowd, particularly one woman who wanted her picture taken with us as she had come out in support of 1 Billion Rising! to Crystal Fantasy, where we danced and drummed in a rhythmic finish into the night.

Food, Not Bombs Co-Founder Keith McHenry to Speak

 Elect to End Hunger & Poverty

You can change our world!

THE ELECT TO END HUNGER AND POVERTY TOUR

with Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry

Food Not Bombs, more than a meal, we are a movement with a message. A presentation sure to inspire your community to take action and change lives.

Thursday January 31, 2013 7pm

Crystal Fantasy

268 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA  92262

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry will share the story, principles and current activities of the movement including the participation by volunteers in the occupations. Keith will also invite the audience to participate with their local activist groups. This is a great way to inspire participation in your local social justice community.

Most people would elect to end hunger and poverty but many of those elected to political office have another agenda, cutting social services while transferring our tax dollars to wealthy military contractors and their corporate friends. Food prices are increasing as crops fail because of the climate crisis. Oxfam and the UN are reporting that hunger will be on the increase leading to civil unrest and violent police repression. The industrial food system is not only causing millions of animals to suffer but is directly responsible for an increase in hunger and climate change gasses.

Food Not Bombs is responding to the economic, ecological and political crisis by recovering, preparing and sharing vegan meals and groceries with the hungry in nearly 1,000 communities. Many have expressed that the presentation was an inspiration saying that they were moved to participate in efforts like Food Not Bombs, Food Not Lawns, Homes Not Jails, the Food Not Bombs Free Skool and other exciting projects.

Editor’s Note: What follows is an interview with Keith McHenry

 “An Interview with an American Visionary” from the August 2012 People’s Tribune, By Chuck Parker

People’s Tribune: How did Food Not Bombs get started?

Keith McHenry: Back in 1980, when I started to collect the discarded produce from my job at Bread and Circus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I looked for people that might enjoy free food. I found a cluster of dilapidated public housing buildings a few blocks east of the grocery. Groups of skinny children and their mothers huddled in the cold on the steps of these broken buildings in the shadow of a group of modern glass towers where scientists were busy designing guidance systems for intercontinental nuclear missiles. This sure made it clear that what people really needed was food not bombs.

PT: How do you get your message out?

Keith: By sharing free food without restrictions, we illustrate the fact that there is an abundance of the things we need, and that scarcity is a fiction that benefits a small minority. By always sharing our literature with the free meals under our banner of Food Not Bombs, we seek to educate the public with a message about the national priorities of the U.S., pointing out that half the Federal budget is spent on the military while millions go hungry every day.

PT: What about the new laws against sharing food in public?

Keith: Yes, it’s gotten so much worse than it was in the 90’s. For example, why do you think cities like Philadelphia and Houston have passed laws against sharing food outdoors? These are cities with huge homeless populations and terrible poverty. They are trying to make you go inside so no one will see you. We have really active Food Not Bombs chapters in these cities, and we expect to be arrested, but we are getting prepared. We can’t change things if we don’t risk arrest.

PT: How are you preparing?

Keith: You build lots of super, super support by being well organized and staying committed to non-violence. With more outreach which illustrates that the government and the corporations don’t have your interests at heart, it will make the movement bigger every time they attack you.

PT: What will be going on at your World Gathering outside the Republican Convention in Tampa August 20-26?

Keith: Besides feeding the protesters, we will have entertainment such as puppet shows and street theater and music. We will be evaluating problems that have come up in the Occupations, and how to regroup. One of our most important workshops will be on improving intergroup communication.

PT: How can people find out about the gathering and what can they look forward to?

Keith: The occupations of 2011 could be the initial step in the journey towards a post capitalist society based on compassion and mutual aid. Instead of acting as a charity, we are feeding the movement to end the policies that cause poverty and hunger. The next thirty years could be crucial to building a free and sustainable future. Help us make the changes we need. For more information go to: www.foodnotbombs.net/gatherings

Please go to www.peoplestribune.org  to read the complete interview.

Read Keith McHenry’s new book: “Hungry for Peace: How you Can Help End Poverty and War with Food Not Bombs.” www.foodnotbombs.net

MLK Rally/Memorial

Veterans for Peace, Move-to-Amend, OCV, Move On, and Progressive Democrats of America organized a Rally/Memorial to recognize MLK Day and the Third Anniversary of the Citizens United Decision on 21 January 2013 at Frances Stevens Park in Palm Springs, CA

Tom Swann, President of the local VFP chapter, made the opening remarks

Local musicians Richard Finn and Carolann Bouldin performed various songs including “I Come and Stand at Every Door,” Pete Seeger’s adaptation of an old folk melody and “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with updated lyrics by Carolann Bouldin

A good crowd was in attendance and signatures were gathered on petitions to abolish corporate personhood

The Laughing Yogi spoke, lifting everyone’s spirits

A number of local speakers participated

The keynote speech was “Peace or Profit: Violence as Commodity”

Dr. Debra Savitt led the group in a meditation in remembrance of victims of violence, while bells were rung every 10 seconds to symbolize each life, and a wreath was dedicated to the victims of violence

This non-partisan event was co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Move On, Progressive Democrats of America, Occupy Coachella Valley, and Move to Amend Coachella Valley.

MLK Day Peace Vigil

OCV recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by having a peace vigil for recent victims of gun violence in the Coachella Valley and around the world at the Palm Desert Civic Center in Palm Desert, CA on 21 January 2013.

Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Robert Kennedy, and John Lennon were honored at the event

Richard Finn performed

Lorraine Salas, local teacher, spoke to the assembly

The Palm Springs High School Jazz Quartet also played for the audience Children read the names of the victims aloud

Dr. Debra Savitt led the group in a prayer/meditation

Everyone sang along on John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Luminarias were lit in remembrance of the victims slain by gun violence

News coverage of the event can be found at:

http://www.kmir6.com/news/toprotator/187838991.html

Occupy WalMart!

There was time when Wal-Mart treated its workers fairly.  That’s when Sam Walton had one store in Bentonville, Arkansas, back in the fifties. He stocked his store with American-made products.  He gave jobs to his family and neighbors, and he paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.  A Wal-Mart worker earned enough to feed his or her family, pay for medical care, and put enough aside to buy a car, or a house, or send a child to college. Does that sound like today’s Wal-Mart?

Does that sound like the management of any of today’s corporations?  Or is it:  A split shift with forced uncompensated overtime, in unsafe working conditions, with no benefits, and wages so low that workers can barely feed their families, with no chance of paying for daycare, or medical expenses, or decent housing, or a proper education?  And if you don’t like those conditions, the robber barons have created a catastrophe economy where ten people are waiting in line for that lousy job that they’d send overseas if they could, to exploit a foreign worker.

How did we get back to this place?  Didn’t American workers say over a hundred years ago that they won’t tolerate these conditions?  Didn’t we fight the captains of industry in Haymarket Square and Lawrence, Massachusetts to end the horror of sweatshops and child labor and starvation wages?  Didn’t we build an American dream of the dignity of labor, where workers were treated with respect, were given safe working conditions, were given a fair living wage that allowed them to give their kids a better life than they had?  So what happened?  What type of sociopathic mind takes a look at a happy, prosperous nation and says:  “This is no good.  We can’t have this.  We need more profit.”  Sam Walton’s kids decided that your kids would have to do without so that they could become obscenely wealthy.

The unchecked greed of America’s 1% has killed the American dream over the last forty years, using their corporations to attack the middle class and the unions,  to corrupt our elected officials and institutions of government, to pervert the tax code so that they shift the burden to the working classes while the corporations and wealthy pay nothing.  Is this class warfare?  Yes it is.  It is a class war declared by the 1% against the 99% and for forty years the 1% has been crushing us.  Does it have to continue to be this way?  Are we powerless?  Do we have to watch in fear as the corporate elites transform the United States into a “right to work for nothing” country?  Do we have to stand by helplessly as American workers are turned into wage and debt slaves?  Of course not!

Workers will rise up, be heard and stand in solidarity, as we are standing here today.  We will work to elect honest representatives (as we have done by electing Raul Ruiz), and we will throw out the politicians and corporate lobbyists who have corrupted the system. As the recent election demonstrated, all the billions of dollars that the 1 % has systematically stolen from us cannot thwart the real power of our nation, the will of the people united. Workers united, will never be divided.  People united, will never be divided.

For more information on the WalMart strike go to:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/walmart-strike-dallas-arkansas-los-angeles-workers_n_1951867.html

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/09/walmart_strikes_spread_to_more_states/

http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/05/news/economy/strikes-walmart-ports-mcdonalds/index.html