Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

we will always remember anastasio hernandez rojas

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was tasered to death in May 2010 by authorities at an immigration checkpoint between two countries that people like to call Mexico and the United States. According to Counterpunch, Mr. Hernandez Rojas came to the US when he was a teenager and had lived here for 27 years. He was married with five children. In the heat of the economic crisis, he lost his construction job. He was caught shoplifting in May 2010, and was deported. When he tried to re-enter the US to be with his family and community, he was brutally beaten and tasered. He died soon after.

This injustice is beyond words. The murderers go home to wives and children, while the family of Mr. Hernandez Rojas mourns, weeps, goes deeper into despair — the poverty of having no control over your own destiny, the oppression of being swept up in unseen forces of authority — and the sadness seeps into the next generation. This has happened to so many people swept up at the border, souls whose names we will never learn.

Borders are an inhumane design. Before borders, the earth was free and open to the migration of all. That is how humans came to live everywhere. Now, borders claim territory and create laws and systems of oppression so that the rich, corporate elite pulling the strings can siphon work and wealth from the rest of us. The wealthy manipulators build walls to increase the hate. They develop systems that broker and limit our interaction, to keep other human beings an arm’s length away, on the other side of a wall or, better yet, a locked door. Then they develop systems to control our hate, and pit human against human for their benefit.

This is not how real human beings are supposed to live.

Filed under: activism, global justice, immigrant rights, indigenous rights

hey US government, are you serious about promoting US jobs?

If the presidential administration really cared about US jobs, why would they be pushing free trade agreements like the proposed Korea FTA, allowing corporations to close up shop and move to countries where they can more readily exploit the labor force (like these South Korean women in a textile factory)?

Speaking to the worst of the worst capitalist business tycoons yesterday, President Obama tried to appeal to a sense of patriotism among business leaders, telling the Chamber of Commerce to promote American jobs.

But if the presidential administration is serious about increasing US exports, why would they be trying to ram through free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia? In December Obama urged Congress to promote the Korea agreement, saying it was a “landmark trade deal.” Hearings on these agreements were pushed up on the Congressional calendar and took place in January.

These free trade agreements kill US jobs. They only give US corporations easy access to exploited workers (which they call “cheap labor”) in other countries, allowing corporations to close their US factories faster than you can say “sweat shop.”

Obama told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that:

How do we make sure that everybody’s got a stake in trade, everybody’s got a stake in increasing exports, everybody’s got a stake in rising productivity? Because ordinary folks end up seeing their standards of living rise as well. That’s always been the American promise.

Later in his speech he alluded to growing the manufacturing sector, telling success stories of US-based corporations like GM and Whirlpool opening new factories in the US.

If the presidential administration is taking a stance in support of increasing our manufacturing sector and therefore our exports, why would they be pushing for US job loss through free trade agreements (FTAs) – with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia?

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that, if we were to implement the Korea FTA, we would actually lose 159,000 jobs in the US within the first seven years. Not exactly very patriotic, then, to promote trade with Korea.

As testified by Global Trade Watch in a hearing on Capitol Hill this past January, Ambassador Kharan Bhatia stated in October 2006 that it was a “myth” that “the US will get the bulk of the benefits of the FTA.” He further stated that:

If history is any judge, it may well not turn out to be true that the US will get the bulk of the benefits, if measured by increased exports… the history of our FTAs is that bilateral trade surpluses of our trading partners go up.”

Even the official US government numbers don’t add up to increased jobs through these free trade agreements. In a report released September 2007, the US International Trade Commission projected that we will run a trade deficit for all goods from textiles to iron ore, from cars to computers. It showed a deficit of between $308 million and $416 million. That’s bad news for workers in the US.

And furthermore, US job loss is just common sense. South Koreans can make everything on the cheap thanks to their low currency. If we care about US jobs, why promote free trade agreements?

Filed under: activism, consumerism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, thoughts and philosophies

uruguay’s free trade woes: free people, not trade!

"For many the pictures we're showing are aggressive. The truth is is what is aggressive is what's inside" the cigarette package, said Walter Abascal, program head for Uruguay's anti-tobacco program. Abascal spoke to Al-Jazeera reporter Teresa Bo (pictured left).

“Free trade” at work. Uruguay passes legislation to discourage smoking. So multinational corporation Philip Morris presses charges against them under a free trade agreement, saying Uruguay’s health-oriented laws are hurting their business. Ugh.

Uruguay’s anti-tobacco legislation requires cigarette companies to cover 80 percent of their packaging with pictures of the effects of smoking. This results in cigarette boxes with unsightly images of yellow teeth, underweight babies on life support, throat cancer victims with open tracheas, and more. The legislation also prohibits smoking in public places.

“For many the pictures we’re showing are aggressive. The truth is is what is aggressive is what’s inside” the cigarette package, said Walter Abascal, program head for Uruguay’s anti-tobacco program, speaking to Al-Jazeera reporter Teresa Bo.

Philip Morris is pressing charges against the tiny Latin American nation on the grounds that the legislation is hurting its profits in Uruguay. The multinational tobacco corporation intends to press charges under a clause of the free trade agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, where the corporation’s operational headquarters are located. On these grounds, the corporation might actually win in international courts, forcing Uruguay to reverse legislation.

Free trade agreements violate a country’s right to self-governance. Governments don’t often express the will of the people, but it’s still better to have a government making decisions than a freaking corporation. A tiny country like Uruguay shouldn’t have to defend its legitimate legislation enacted by its democratic government on the grounds that some corporation’s profit margin is threatened.

Every free trade agreement is nothing but a weapon of domination, enabling the wealthy corporate aristocracy to tighten the grip that they have on our necks. Free people, not trade.

Filed under: activism, consumerism, global justice, human welfare, international relations

I’m a free woman! My G20 case was withdrawn!

Some wonderful news! My case was withdrawn yesterday!

I came all the way from Washington DC to Toronto, Canada, where I’m checking in from a cute little coffee shop on Queen Street, to face the charge of “Assault of a Police Officer.” I was hit with this ridiculously false charge after I was arrested during the G20 summit weekend, manhandled, thrown into the back of an unmarked van, beaten and strangled.

Yesterday, the case was withdrawn after I stood in front of the judge for 30 seconds, just long enough for the prosecutor to say that they have no interest in pursuing my case. I am now a free woman. Now I’ll be able to pursue charges against the real criminals – the Toronto Police, starting with Officer Kevin Antoine, Toronto Police, Division 52, Badge #7880, who was one of the men who attacked me. Wish me luck!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

Toronto Star article on my G20 case withdrawal!

A photo of my G20 arrest in Toronto, as re-published today by the Toronto Star.

In an article in the Toronto Star today, Betsy Powell writes about my charges being dropped:

Photographs of Toronto police throwing activist Lacy MacAuley to the ground were among the most unforgettable images capturing G20 summit protests.

On Monday, the Crown withdrew a charge of assault peace officer laid against the Washington woman.

“I’m a free woman,” she announced via Twitter. “Of course it’s no surprise — what evidence could they possible have had?”

Overall, more than 300 accused facing charges from G20 protests attended court Monday. It was described as one of the largest mass court appearances ever seen in Toronto. Ministry of Attorney General officials said they could not estimate how many people processed at the Finch Ave. W. courthouse had their charges dropped.

She goes on to write:

“All the cases that were withdrawn or were diverted are an indication they had a lot of false charges on a lot of us to begin with,” MacAuley, 31, said last night.

MacAuley said she came to Toronto in June to participate in peaceful protests against the G20, an organization whose policies are “making life worse for most people.”

I’d like to note here that I came not only to participate in peaceful protests, but to amplify the voices of all of those opposing the G20 through doing media work!

She was walking in a protest march along Pape Ave. near a temporary detention centre when anti-riot police moved in and scooped her up.*

“I didn’t assault anyone,” she said. The Crown withdrew the charge Monday with no explanation. “It was over in 30 seconds.”

MacAuley said she still thinks Toronto is a “lovely city,” and said she was extremely grateful Toronto lawyer Greg Lafontaine had agreed to handle her case pro bono — although his services will not be required.

*Small correction here: At the point at which the police snatched me, I had actually been standing in the crowd at the peaceful rally outside the temporary G20 jail on Eastern Avenue, Toronto. The police ran in and snatched a young man standing near the front of the crowd. I went forward to photograph the arrest with my iPhone. Then I looked over to see police officers running to snatch me! The rest is history.

Filed under: activism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 update: heading to Toronto to face charges!

A little update on my G20 court case. I’m headed to Toronto tomorrow evening to face the charge “Assault of a Police Officer.”

I am leaving late, late, after-the-witching-hour on Friday night, boarding a train that will rumble through New York City and then up through the hills and plains of rural Canada before rolling into Toronto. (Train travel is the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, and it’s a bit cheaper than airfare, since I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to make it back.)

Monday is my “case discovery” proceeding. Basically, the Toronto police will present whatever evidence they could possibly drudge up (or falsify?) that I may have assaulted someone. Or the judge could simply dismiss the case, effectively telling the Toronto Police and their shoddy evidence to take a hike. Of course, I’m hoping the case gets promptly and summarily dismissed!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 violence against women press conference

I stand with all the women who have been subjected to the violence of the G20, both in Toronto and in all parts of the world. The violence that I experienced at the hands of the police is only a tiny piece of the violence experienced by women who ecosystems are destroyed, whose family members are taken, or whose communities are uprooted by the corrupt policies of the G20. I was thrown into the back of an unmarked van, punched, strangled, and manhandled. How much more suffering have other women incurred at the hands of the G20?

I contributed this video to a press conference happening today in Toronto to address the violence against women that occurred in Toronto during the G2o Summit.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

the first G20, November 2008 in Washington DC

When the G20 came to my city, Washington DC, in November 2008, I helped to organize the people's response, marching to the World Bank building, near where the meetings were held. People like me, we won't stop voicing our opposition. We will overpower and deconstruct the G20's illegitimate authority.

The first G20 Summit was held in November 2008 in Washington DC, called by George W. Bush as a “response” to the global economic crisis (instead of the G8). I assisted in organizing the protests to the G20 in Washington DC, opposed to the idea that nineteen men and one woman could make earth-shaking decisions for the rest of us behind closed doors, without any public involvement at all. During that summit, the G20 would institutionalize some of the most harmful policies that they wield: bailouts for banks and corporations, and increased funding for corrupt development banks like the IMF.

The corrupt policies of the G20 have only worsened, and continue to harm people, especially workers and the poor in the United States and other rich countries, and pretty much everyone in poor countries. I intend to keep opposing these policies, and I know that I will be joined by brothers and sisters in my movement. Our voices will thunder together into a storm that will deconstruct the illegitimate authority of the G20.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life

opposing G20? we’ve only just begun

Leading a few chants at G20 protests in Toronto, "G8, G20. They are few. We are many!" We need to continue to stand up for what is right, and give a megaphone to those working to make the world a better place.

There have been a lot of people, especially my brothers and sisters in Toronto, who have come out of the experience of protesting the G20 feeling oppressed and hurt, like they’ve been broken by the experience. Here is what I have to say.

Brothers and sisters, we need to continue to stand up for what is right! Do not let them break your will. Our wills are stronger than their guns, their handcuffs, or their prisons! Theirs is an illegitimate source of authority. Our authority is born of love and joy, oneness and respect for each other and future generations. Our power is stronger.

The oppression that we have been subjected to is only a fraction of the oppression felt by indigenous people of the Amazon in Peru, who were attacked and shot at last year by government forces for blockading a road to prevent oil corporations from killing their forest, by traditional farmers in Papua New Guinea whose rivers are being killed, who get murdered for opposing the Barrick gold mining company – or the everyday oppression suffered by farmers everywhere who are told they must pay land tax, disrupting more traditional, community-centered food distribution means.

It is for them and for us that we must keep standing up for what is right.

As long as we are speaking out against their hyper-capitalist corporate globalization, they’ll try to silence us. Don’t let their intimidation tactics and their attempts at disempowerment work. We need to keep working, and keep giving a megaphone to those working for liberation, all of us!

I was one of the over 900 people assaulted by the police and/or treated inhumanely. Now I am back here in Washington and organizing to oppose corporate globalization. Despite the fact that Washington DC is arguably the most powerful city in the world, few of my brothers and sisters truly understand why we must oppose the G20 and its allies like the IMF, the World Bank, the US Department of Treasury, the US Federal Reserve, corporations, etc – and why we must resist the intangible ideals of monied wealth that poison our minds.

We cannot lose heart. The real struggle has only just begun… not to sound melodramatic (but I’m sure I do), but it is seriously a struggle not just for what kind of civilization we’re going to have, but whether the human species, and species like us, are even going to survive. We have to keep our small piece of the opposition strong, and keep deconstructing their authority, their invisible fists and hands of control, not just for those alive now, but for future generations.

This is only the beginning!

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life, media

the story of my unjust arrest

This photo of me appeared in the New York Times on 06/27/2010.

I was thrown into an unmarked van, strangled, punched, and manhandled during my arrest.

The photos of my arrest during the Toronto G20 summit show a small blond lady with purple stockings getting thrown around by police as I was tossed head-first into an unmarked van. These photos have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star, in the New York Times, and in other newspapers. Footage of the arrest has appeared on CNN and other news outlets such as CBC. My name is Lacy MacAuley, and this is the story of my arrest, including my being violently assaulted, strangled, and punched while riding into the police station in the back of the van.

I arrived at the site of the peaceful jail solidarity rally, just outside the Prisoner Processing Center (PCC) at about 11:30 AM, Sunday, June 27, with two friends from Washington DC, organizer Robby Diesu and Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. I smiled as we walked up to the rally: There under a breathtaking blue sky, a young man was strumming an electric bass and leading a musical chant, “So so so, solidarity!” People were smiling and cheering as two people were released from jail (I understand at least two were released before I arrived), and I used my iPhone to send messages to Twitter about the cheerful rally, with photos attached.

I had come to Toronto from Washington DC to protest the G20 by helping to write about and photograph events that question and deconstruct the G20’s authority. The G20 is a government superstructure with even more power than any individual country, which has been pursuing corrupt bailout policies for banks, corporations and the International Monetary Fund, while allowing citizens to starve. Its “open market” or “free trade” policies only help to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and allow corporations to destroy the environment, subjugate civil liberties, and strip away a country’s national sovereignty. The G20 is bad for most of us on earth, not to mention our children and grandchildren. I have a BA in International Relations with a minor in World Development Studies, but it doesn’t take special expertise to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with a tiny cartel of wealthy leaders who are taking money from corporations for funding running the way our civilization is designed. It is all of our duty to resist oppression and make the world a better place. That’s why I was in Toronto, and I did not damage anyone or anything while there.

I was standing in the crowd about fifteen feet from the bass player when suddenly, with no warning and no provocation, police charged into the crowd and tackled a young man near the front. Some in the crowd at the rally began screaming and running backwards, while many remained calm and shouted to the police to let the young man go. I began taking photos with my iPhone of the violent arrest.

Then I looked up to see the police charging for me, closing in from only about seven feet away. I knew that to resist arrest would be a serious offense, thanks to years of training in nonviolence, so I did not resist. The police then tackled me and pushed me to the ground. I was able to put my left arm down to buffer my fall onto the pavement. Then one uniformed officer grabbed me around the waist, pulling me back to the dark blue side of the police line and throwing me face-down on the pavement. As he threw me my arms were being twisted behind my back. I was able to angle my right shoulder toward the pavement so that I did not hit the pavement with my face. Apparently my friend Robby was attempting to run forward through the crowd to perform a heroic act that would save me, but was being restrained by my friend Geoff, who feared that Robby would wind up arrested himself if he did anything.

As this was happening, I was shouting in a voice that was firm and loud but not frantic, “You have to let me go. Please, you have to let me go. I’ve done nothing wrong.” I had been focusing on holding onto my iPhone with a death grip because I knew that if I dropped it at this point, behind the police line, I might never see it again. Now, as I was laying face-down behind the line, my phone was aggressively pulled out of my hand. One officer kneeled on my head as another fumbled behind me with handcuffs. The officer was leaning hard with all his weight on the left side of my head as my right cheek was driven into the pavement. The pain was immense and overwhelming. I told him to take his knee off my head. A second officer on the other side was also kneeling on my back. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 arrest made front-page news

A photo of my arrest made it to the front page of the Toronto Star, the most significant daily newspaper in Canada, on Monday, June 28, 2010, and also the front page of MetroNews, a daily newspaper handed out to public transit riders in Toronto.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

young indigenous leaders want struggle, and resistance, not appeasement

“We are being attacked. This is a direct war against our people,” said Ojistori:yo (Missy Elliott), a young indigenous community leader of the Six Nations, from the stage at the event “Confront the Invasion Night of Solidarity with the Mapuche Peoples and All Our Indigenous Nations in the Struggle for Indigenous Sovereignty!” Part of the resistance to the G8/G20, the event took place last night at the Steelworkers Hall in Toronto.

The night of solidarity ended well after midnight, with young indigenous leaders taking a brave stance on tactics to oppose the G8/G20 and defend their native land. The event included performances by artists such as Test & Logic, revolutionary hip-hop duo; Danny Beaton, traditional native flute player; and Mario Muñoz, Cuban pianist performing Trova folk music. A clip was shown from El Despojo, a film about the Mapuche people’s resistance to corporate corruption in Chile. As the event stretched well after midnight last night, discussions about the indigenous rights community grew passionate and loud.

Some male elders were "co-opting" traditional practices to push women to the sidelines, said some young indigenous community leaders.

In heartfelt tones, young indigenous leaders expressed that their elders had been too quick to accept pacification, and that they furthermore had been failing to show women in the indigenous community due respect. Speaking at a panel discussion that concluded the evening, the young leaders stated that some of their elders were “ego-tripping” from the posh treatment from police and other institutions that resulted from the from their embracing pacifist nonviolence, and that furthermore they were emphasizing pacifist nonviolence out of fear.

“Are we weak? Are we pansies?” asked Zig Zag (Gord Hill), an indigenous community leader, of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation and the author of “500 Years of Indigenous Resistance.” His questions evoked cheers and laughter from the crowd. “This fear is to control us and to subdue us! Their role is to pacify resistance!”

“We have to embrace different tactics, because our movements are diverse,” continued Zig Zag. These tactics, said Zig Zag, include disruptive tactics to fight for the land. The speaker passionately recalled the militant resistance that happened in Canada 20 years ago. Other tactics involve efforts toward indigenous autonomy and a return to traditional practices, as discussed by Miranda D of the Native Youth Movement, of the West Coast, Secwepemc Territory. “We’re taking actions to be self-sustaining,” said Miranda D, who discussed projects to build traditional houses, as well as fishing, hunting, and collecting native plants, presenting ways to oppose colonialism and the policies of the G8/G20.

“[The G8 and G20] have no absolutely no moral right to dictate policies on our land. This is our land!” said Sharon Sanchez, a young community leader of the Women’s Coordinating Committee Chile-Canada. Sanchez decried local indigenous elders who had told her that her banner, which depicted traditional symbols of indigenous resistance such as an arrow and the Mohawk Nation symbol, was too violent. (The banner design concept may be viewed here.)

“All these nations that are gathering are claiming jurisdiction over our people,” said Ojistori:yo. “That red in the Canadian flag? To me that represents the blood of my people.”

Sexism among male elders

Excessive sexism among male elders was pushing many female community leaders to the sidelines, the young indigenous community leaders agreed.

Lindsay Ganohshan Ohwe Bomberry, a young leader of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan, of the Six Nations, expressed concern that many male community leaders were suppressing women during the march earlier yesterday that wove its way through downtown Toronto, with men walking out in front and pushing women to the back and the sidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, , ,

indigenous rights, not G20; a march through Toronto

Thousands marched today for indigenous rights through downtown Toronto as leaders arrived in the city.

Under the beat of drums born by indigenous people of Canada, several thousand protesters marched through downtown Toronto today, including about 500 indigenous community members, mostly from Canadian First Nations. The group marched to reclaim indigenous rights as the G20 prepares to meet in downtown Toronto, which land stolen from First Nations. Many had flags that bore the words “Native Rights are Human Rights,” and “Canada Can’t Hide Genocide.” One banner which required a hundred people to carry it bore the words, “Native Land Rights Now!”

One speaker at the opening rally was Lionel Lepine, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“We’re here to protect and defend Mother Earth, and right now she’s under attack violently,” said Lepine. “We must take action and make sure she doesn’t get attacked any more.”

We will fight for our communities and our grandchildren, Lionel Lepine told attendees at the opening rally.

Lepine is from what he calls “ground zero” in Alberta, Canada, on the western tip of Lake Athabasca. He says that if uranium mining companies and tar sands companies succeed in what they want to do, his community will perish.

According to the draft G20 resolution that was leaked to Greenpeace, the G20 intends to continue its s0-called “open market” economic liberalization policies that loosen legislation for corporations and other business entities while reducing the ability to act for indigenous communities.

“Open markets play a pivotal role in supporting growth and job creation,” touts the draft G20 resolution. But indigenous community leaders are not convinced.

Lepine says that it is “time to evict” the Canadian government, big oil corporations, the G8 and the G20 from indigenous lands. He says that their policies of economic liberalization and letting corporations trample indigenous communities with impunity needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, international relations, media

“toxic tour” of the g8/g20 in Toronto

400 to 500 people marched in downtown Toronto to oppose the G20, its polluting policies, and the corporate polluters who benefit from those policies.

“We know what the solutions are. It’s time to listen to us!” said Kimia Ghomeshi, an organizer of the “Toxic Tour” that roared through downtown Toronto today, as the G20 prepares to meet in the city on Friday. It was hard not to listen to the passionate demonstration, which began at Alexandra Park, accompanied by drummers playing samba and Brazilian rhythms who danced and chanted, “You failed IMF! You failed World Bank! You failed G8! Stop the G20!” Stopping at offices of corporate polluters and those who fund them, the demonstrators that G20 policies lead to pollution.

Protesters hoisted art installations that depicted messy oil barrels, dead birds and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, destructive logging operations, and toxic gold mining. Many protesters had covered themselves with fake oil (in actuality a chocolate syrup blend), to emphasize that the G20 brings pollution wherever it goes, including downtown Toronto.

Representatives from indigenous communities speak in front of RBC Bank to discuss how banks and G20 policies are destroying their communities.

One art installation depicted an oil drum with gold-colored paint gushing out of it. One of the artists who made it wore a white chemical suit, a hard hat, and a skull mask. The installation depicts is “iconic of what happens after an oil spill. From Exxon Valdez until now, the whole ecosystem, it’s wiped out,” said the artist, who wished not to be named. The artist said that G20 policies that allow corporations and business interests to enter countries and do whatever they want is “a corporate capitalism.”

Demonstrators covered themselves with fake oil to emphasize that wherever the G20 goes, or wherever their policies go, they bring pollution.

“Our way of life is more important than any policy that the G8 or the G20 could ever present,” said Mel Vazil, a social worker and member in the Smithers indigenous nation of British Colombia. “I should be picking berries with my son right now. But I’m here so they can pick berries next year, and next decade, and for the next hundred years and thousand years, and the G8 and the G20 can’t help me do that.”

“What the G20 is, you have 20 people who are heads of state who are coming to meet to discuss the fate of the world, and all of the voices, all the plurality, all the democratic space that we’re trying to build has been shut out of that,” said Craig Forster of No One is Illegal, who attended the demonstration. “It’s how the system works. It shuts out the rights of people, especially indigenous people. There’s a direct link in terms of what they’re discussing today and what impact it’s going to have on the future, whether it’s the environment, or how people migrate, or the global capitalist system.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, global justice, immigrant rights, international relations, media

anarchist exercise video, gearing up to protest the IMF and World Bank

I was part of the filming yesterday of this cute anarchist exercise video. As the video implies, we’re gearing up for some protest fun and games!

April 23-25 is the Anticapitalathon in Washington DC, where anarchists, anti-capitalists, and global justice supporters will be conducting games and exercises, including a 5K Run on the Bank, capture the flag, and a procession of athletes in order to protest the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Behind the mirrored windows of the World Bank building, the IMF and World Bank will be having their twice-per-year “spring meetings,” during which they discuss and conspire their tactics for getting countries caught deep in debt. When countries can’t pay their debt to the World Bank, the IMF steps in to enact hyper-capitalist policies (in return for a loan bailout). Their policies drain the countries of wealth, destroy ecosytems, cause more climate change, and strip traditional communities of their ability to keep their ways of life. And they don’t even succeed at making more money for their debtor countries.

The World Bank and the IMF have steam-rolled over traditional communities and the ecosystems that sustained them. They’re a big, big reason that this crazy world is so messed up. And they’re trying to mess us up some more. They must be stopped.

Please come out to the Anticapitalathon. Throw a frisbee. Run on the Bank. Kick a soccer ball. Join us! You are part of the solution.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, international relations, lacy's life

pepco has been “fossil fooled”

The Greenwash Guerillas strike again! On April Fools Day, we played a fun prank on Washington DC’s main energy provider, Pepco.

In the wee hours of the morning on April 1, we stuck fake Pepco customer letters on thousands of doors. The letters said that “Pepco is going green,” and promised that Pepco would switch to 100% wind and solar energy by 2020. It further announced that Pepco would be canceling proposed rate hikes, and instructed customers that they should contact Pepco’s customer service line to see if they qualify for a “renewable energy rate discount.”

Then we sent out a fake press release with the phony URL www.pepco-green.com. (Some very talented folks were able to create a mock-up website that looked almost identical to Pepco’s.) We also had our own “go phone” number listed as the number for the real-world Pepco press contact. Very early yesterday morning, we called TV and radio news desks with the news that “Pepco is going green.” Local Fox figured out our hoax and picked it up with the headline “Pepco Victim of April Fools Day Hoax.” Then we called friends at Washington Post and gave them the exclusive story that listed the group’s name “Greenwash Guerillas” and gave other details that no other outlet had. The Post ran a wonderful story on it that afternoon.

David Fahrentold of the Washington Post writes:

…Pepco put out a statement saying that the letter and the Web site were fake.

“We have been alerted that a bogus Web site and other false communications posing as Pepco were issued today. This bogus Web site is not secure and does not represent Pepco,” Pepco said on its Web site.

“Some folks really did a good job,” Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson said this morning. “But it ain’t us.”

Fahrenthold quoted me in his article as well:

A group called the Greenwash Guerrillas claimed responsibility for the hoax. Lacy MacAuley, a spokeswoman for the group, said the group has about 40 members and is a year old.

MacAuley said that the group had placed about 3,000 letters around Washington and suburban Maryland. She called it “greenwash guerrilla warfare,” against people identified as “perpetrators,” promoting policies that worsen climate change.

What a fun prank. Afterwards we did a victory lap to celebrate, a mobile dance party through Adams Morgan and down U Street with about thirty beautiful dancing people. Then we danced into the distance… but the Greenwash Guerillas will return next April Fools Day to prank the fossil fuel industry, I promise.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, humor, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

shaky evidence of military providing real help in Haiti

News reports of the military in Haiti take it as a given that the military is helping in Haiti. But evidence that most soldiers are doing anything to directly help Haitians is very shaky. Most are just providing security. It takes a giant leap of faith to believe that US troops standing around Port-au-Prince, while people all around them are in need of water, food, medical help, and supplies, is “providing aide.” I’m not jumping.

This CBS news report, which features the 82nd airborne division giving water to Haitians, only shows a small number of water bottles, perhaps a few hundred. Only enough for a small number of people to take a drink, this is one example of the unconvincing emergency response by the US military.

There are over 10,000 soldiers in and around Haiti right now. With so many warm bodies, you’d think their relief efforts would be remarkable; instead they’re rather unconvincing.

There’s slim evidence such as this CBS report of the 82nd airborne division, which consists of 50 soldiers in Haiti, flying one helicopter out to deliver water and a bit of temporary medical assistance. The report begins with an exasperated-sounding reporter saying “water water everywhere, and finally it got to the people.” That was earlier this week.

The camera work shows only a few hundred bottles of water being distributed to Haitians. Not a tanker filling five-gallon jugs. Bottles.

And then there’s a Reuters report of the 82nd airborne providing food to “a few hundred” Haitians. It was their first time providing food to people. The report addresses what “lessons” the soldiers had learned from the experience. That was on Friday, ten full days after the earthquake hit, and it was their first time actually delivering food to actual Haitians.

The Carl Vinson provided some medical support. But a BBC reporter aboard the ship only reports on a few isolated cases of people who were helicoptered, one by one, to receive medical attention there. Several days after the earthquake, a Wall Street Journal reporters observed that only seven people were being treated on this ship. The Journal’s description criticizes the naval ship’s operations, quoting a naval doctor who said that he is ready serve thousands of injured people, rather than just seven people. But he has not been given orders to serve more people.

The USS Bataan, a ship that USS Carl Vinson personnel said had more extensive medical facilities than its own, arrived just this past Wednesday (a bit late?) and only took in 19 injured or sick people in its first day of operations.

The much-anticipated USNS Comfort was supposed to provide some meaningful medical support, arriving finally on Haiti’s shores this past Tuesday. By Friday, wrote a reporter in Port-au-Prince for Sphere, the USNS Comfort, the much-celebrated naval ship, had only treated “hundreds of the wounded and evacuated.”

By contrast, the same report also states that, “Hundreds of Haitians in Port-au-Prince have been treated for quake-related injuries at a field hospital set up by the University of Miami medical school.” They did so without guns or a big ship.

I’m not jumping at this bait. The US military purports to be one of the most efficient, best-organized forces in the world. If their real purpose for being in Haiti was to actually help Haitians, they would have done better than this.

Filed under: activism, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

News Media Coverage of “Risk of Instability” in Haiti is Letting Politics Slow Aide

Over 10,000 US troops are in Haiti right now. That’s at least one US soldier for every 100 Haitians. If these soldiers were actually distributing food and water, every Haitian could be nourished. But the military didn’t send food and water. It sent soldiers.

After seven days, guards erect a Haitian flag in front of the crumbled presidential palace. US troops are in Haiti acting to protect the presidency from escaped political prisoners in the aftermath of the earthquake. This is the "risk of instability" that the Haitian government is really worried about. (Photo: Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times)

That’s because our US troops are not really on a humanitarian mission in Haiti. They are protecting the current US-friendly regime of Haitian President René Préval, and seeking to ensure that supporters of the twice-democratically-elected former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, pro-democracy political prisoners who were freed by the earthquake, do not bring Aristide to power again. That’s the real “risk of instability” that Préval is referring to in his speeches.

The news media is mostly allowing the presence of US troops in Haiti to go unquestioned, implying that gun-wielding soldiers are needed due to incidents of what they call “looting” or due to fighting over resources. But all accounts on the ground seem to indicate that Haitians have been overwhelmingly peaceful. The troops are really there to respond in case there is a pro-democracy political movement that could rattle the US-friendly presidency. The news media is harming Haiti by misrepresenting this security concern, and is allowing politics to get in the way of aide.

The safe streets of Port-au-Prince

“I’m living here in the neighborhood [in Port-au-Prince]… There is no security. The UN is not out. The US is not out. The Haitian police are not able to be out. But there’s also no insecurity… You can hear a pin drop in this city. It’s a peaceful place. There is no war. There is no crisis except the suffering that’s ongoing,” said Dr. Evan Lyon with Partners in Health, a physician working at the main hospital in Haiti who was interviewed by Democracy Now earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

who’s afraid of negative economic growth?

If economic growth has been waged through a full-on war on the environment, isn’t it time we drafted a peace treaty? The Copenhagen climate summit has resulted in a flimsy accord, with deep divisions over economic issues and countries acting to protect their economic growth. But we need a healthy planet to ensure the survival of our species. Isn’t that more important than economic growth?

If we want to save our planet and ensure the survival of our species, we must accept negative economic growth.

Throughput of the economy must be reduced. This means we need to stop taking products of intact ecosystems and convert them into inert or even harmful forms (i.e. turning a mountain with coal deposits into a pile of rubble that kills local watersheds, smothers communities, puts deadly toxins in the air and fuels harmful climate change).

Throughput is bad for the environment. However, any economist will tell you that it is the throughput, the “real economy” of tangible goods and services that make life cushier, that drives the rest of the economy. Ninety percent of the economy can be financial instruments or speculative currency markets or any number of things that people pretend have value (and therefore do have value), but if those things aren’t connected somehow to real goods and services, they disappear like a trick of the light.

So, we are going to have to deal with something that may seem frightening to those in financial policy, board room execs, and bankers of all ilk: NEGATIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH. Yes, a contraction of our economy. Less stuff being bought and sold. Less money in bank vaults. Less throughput.

But who’s afraid of negative economic growth? Not me. All that economic growth that we’ve been experiencing in the past few decades has mostly fattened the wallets of those who were already very rich. Real wages for most of us (that is, what our pay dollars can actually buy), have not gone up in thirty years. In the article “US Income Inequality Continues to Grow,” Don Monkerud explains:

[W]ages for most Americans didn’t improve from 1979 to 1998, and the median male wage in 2000 was below the 1979 level, despite productivity increases of 44.5 percent. Between 2002 and 2004, inflation-adjusted median household income declined $1,669 a year. To make up for lost income, credit card debt soared 315 percent between 1989 and 2006, representing 138 percent of disposable income in 2007.

If negative economic growth means that the rich have to curb their appetites for money, goods, and services, I am all for it.

In the meantime, I’m willing to buy less clothing per year, turn off my appliances and lights, control the temperature of only small spaces in my home, and walk and bike places. Yes, I’m willing to consume less. That will lead to less throughput and negative economic growth.

As I’ve said, economic growth doesn’t scare me. What does give me the shivers? Climate change, pollution, starvation, disease, environmental disasters, and the terrifying consequences of what could happen if we don’t reduce our consumption.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, thoughts and philosophies

building an ark: climate change Plan B

If the the US doesn’t agree now to curb emissions at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, a lot of people will be underwater, including our very own capital city in the US. Little known fact: If the sea level continues to rise, especially if ice sheets start crashing down into the ocean, Washington DC could be underwater within minutes.

That’s why climate justice activists are building an ark on the national mall in Washington DC, which they call “Plan B” if Copenhagen talks fail to result in meaningful action to stop climate change.

Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area, heard about the ark and "just had to come down and help" build it. The ark was recently moved to the national mall, where further construction is underway.

“We are saving the planet with this thing. We’re putting the animals on it, you know, two by two, starting with the pandas from the National Zoo,” jokes Aaron Dickerson, a tennis instructor in the Washington DC area who heard about the project and said he “just had to come down and help.”

The ark has recently been moved from a warehouse in Adams Morgan to the national mall, where construction is underway. When the ark is completed on Saturday it will be nearly 60 feet long and topped with a roof. The deck will house cardboard cutouts of pairs of animals, and the ark will remain on the national mall for several days after completion to allow time for passersby to view the ark and write messages of hop on its walls.

A press advisory from Avaaz.org, the group building the ark, explains:

Building an ark to save us from climate change on the National Mall in Washington DC Noah’s Ark signifies the scale of calamity that climate change poses to communities across the globe. While a “Real Deal” is “Climate Plan A,” the Ark depicts “Climate Plan B” and the lack of current options for a fair, ambitious, and binding deal coming out of Copenhagen. The Ark will remain for several days after the event so that visitors can write messages of hope on its sides. It’s designed to tell our leaders that we want a deal that is:

Fair – $200 Billion in climate financing for poorer countries;
Ambitious – a 2015 peak year for carbon emissions and a safe carbon level of 350 ppm;
Binding – legally enforceable.

Builder and engineer Oscar Ramirez stands near a completed cross-section of the ark. When it is completed it will be nearly 60 feet long and be topped with a roof.

The event is sponsored by Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. The building of the Ark is part of a national day of action by the international advocacy organization Avaaz (Avaaz.org), December 12, 2009, when there will be candlelight vigils around the world to call for meaningful action on climate change.

In Washington DC, the completed ark will be unveiled at the vigil on Saturday, December 12, at 4 PM. People are invited to come and write messages of hope on the ark.

Avaaz.org estimates that there will be over 2,000 vigils occurring across the world to call for meaningful action to stop climate change on Saturday, December 12. Messages will be directed at the delegates of the UN climate summit, which ends on December 18 and aims to set bold targets for cutting emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gasses. Both the US and China, the top two emitters of carbon, have agreed to curb their carbon emissions, but other points of agreement remain undetermined – that is, “in the air.”

Now is the time to pressure our leaders to do more. Governments are supposed to exist to help serve and protect the people, and there is no better way to help serve and protect than to help save humanity from the brink of certain demise due to climate change (even if it means a slow-down in -gasp!- economic growth, or even a contraction of the real economy).

“We’re telling our leaders, ‘Don’t make this ark our only choice,'” says Oscar Ramirez, builder and engineer of the ark, and organizer with Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC. “We need a real deal at Copenhagen. We need a deal that is fair, ambitious, and binding.”

Building of the ark is occurring on the national mall in between 12th & 13th Streets NW. The Avaaz Climate Action Factory in Washington DC has invited the community to come, help build, and become a part of the process.

Original design plans for the ark.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, global justice, international relations, lacy's life

Lacy MacAuley

I'm an activist, dreamer, media relations professional, life dancer, and student of the unknown living in Washington DC. If you stand for something, then stand up! Listen, envision, and act.

tweets from the street

  • Jesus went to the desert. Buddha went ascetic, meditated under a tree. I've been in the mountains for 5 months now. I'm learning :) 3 months ago
  • And you are afraid to take one more step upon the path? This path has carried you so far already. lacymacauley.wordpress.com 4 months ago
  • "Throw yourself like seed. From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself." ~Miguel de Unamuno 5 months ago
  • Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. -Rumi 5 months ago
  • Let it go Let it out Let it all unravel Let it be And it shall be The path on which to travel ~Song heard at Anahata Bio-Community :) 7 months ago
  • Friends, there's nothing inevitable about capitalism or "the market." This form of meeting our needs is brand new in the grand scheme. 7 months ago
  • AMAZING VIDEO. Anarchy as a Spiritual Practice. htl.li/un17T 7 months ago
  • Very proud of the fact that I've successfully ignored the #Olympics... Not living vicariously. Living!! :) 8 months ago
  • Heading to Dance of Universal Peace at the Floyd Eco-Village. #danceofuniversalpeace #Peace #Floyd. Giving it a whirl ;) 8 months ago
  • Just drove out from gravel road in Floyd, VA after being there for a week. Here's what awaited me! http://t.co/d8eGB93dmF 8 months ago

Building a better world starts with just raising your voice.

I support justice. Earth Justice, Civil Rights Justice, Peace and Justice, Economic Justice, Democracy. Join the movement. You are part of the solution. Learn more: lacymacauley@gmail.com

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